NEWS FROM MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS Senator the Hon. Bob Carr

ISRAELI SETTLEMENT ACTIVITY



MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS Senator the Hon. Bob Carr

ISRAELI SETTLEMENT ACTIVITY

June 19, 2013

Foreign Minister Bob Carr today expressed the Australian Government’s continuing concern at proposals to further expand Israeli settlements, following recent proposals for thousands of additional housing units on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.

Senator Carr said he joined United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in opposing plans for additional settler housing on the West Bank, in East Jerusalem and earlier proposals for new housing near Ramallah.

“Earlier this week, the UN Secretary General described the expansion of Israeli settlements as being in violation of international law,” Senator Carr said.

“The Australian Government shares this view.

“Continued settlement activity is an obstacle to these negotiations and to the cause of Middle East peace.

“I urge Israel to reject further settlement plans and for both sides to resume negotiations on the creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel.”

Israeli officials have recently detailed proposals for additional housing in Itamar and Bruchin, for 1000 settlement units in East Jerusalem, additional settler housing in Beit El near Ramallah and steps to authorize four illegal settlement outposts in the West Bank.

Israeli settlement activity has been declared illegal by the United Nations General Assembly and the UN Security Council.

In 2004 the International Court of Justice issued an Advisory Opinion unanimously concluding that Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (including East Jerusalem) had been established in breach of international law including Article 49(6) of the Geneva Convention.

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS Senator the Hon. Bob Carr

CHEMICAL WEAPON USE IN SYRIA

June 19, 2013

Foreign Minister Bob Carr today said the Australian Government shared the United States assessment that Syria’s Assad regime had used chemical weapons against its people, including the nerve gas sarin.

Speaking in the Senate yesterday Senator Carr said Syria’s use of chemical weapons was abhorrent and a breach of international law.

“Australia has been at the forefront of efforts to rid the world of chemical weapons,” Senator Carr said.

“We founded the Australia Group in 1985 to prevent the export of materials and equipment that could aid proliferation.

“And we secured the passage of the Chemical Weapons Convention through the United Nations General Assembly in 1993.

“The United States has reported multiple instances of small-scale chemical weapons use by the Assad regime. Casualties are estimated at between 100 and 150 people.

“Australia opposes any use of chemical weapons and condemns their deployment against the Syrian people.”

Senator Carr said Australian Government assistance in the Syrian crisis remained focused on humanitarian aid.

“We’re doing what we can to assist the millions of Syrians driven from their homes as this conflict enters its third year,” Senator Carr said.

“Australia has provided more than $78 million for emergency accommodation, drinking water, child protection and medical aid.

“We also advocate a medical pact, to protect doctors and nurses, end the use of hospitals as bases and make sure medicines can be brought in for civilian care.”

Senator Carr said Australia was committed to a political settlement for Syria, comprising a ceasefire followed by institution of a transitional governing authority to move towards a pluralist, democratic and multi-faith Syria.

MOROCCAN FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS AUSTRALIA

Morocco’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, HE Dr Saad Dine El Otmani, visited Australia as a Guest of the Australian Government from 12-16 June, the first such visit by a Moroccan Foreign Minister.

Dr Otmani’s successful visit followed Foreign Minister Bob Carr’s visit to Morocco – the first by an Australian Foreign Minister – in June 2012.

Senator Carr said he and Dr Otmani held productive discussions in Sydney last week covering the bilateral relationship and a range of regional and global issues of mutual concern. 

“Australia and Morocco are cooperating closely as current members of the UN Security Council,” Senator Carr said.

“We are both concerned about peace and security challenges including the crises in Syria and Mali.

“We discussed the urgent need to progress the Middle East peace process.

“We also discussed the importance of trade and investment links and development cooperation in priority sectors such as agriculture.”

Both Ministers noted strong community links between Australia and North Africa, including through Moroccan students awarded Australian Government scholarships.

Dr Otmani’s visit also included meetings with the Australian private sector, other government representatives and the Moroccan community.

PUNCHBOWL BOYS’ HIGH STUDENT ATTENDS LUNCH WITH AUSTRALIAN AND MOROCCAN FOREIGN MINISTERS

When Taj Zaroual had breakfast with his mother last Thursday he didn’t know he’d be having lunch with two Foreign Ministers.

Mr Zaroual is a 13 year-old student of Moroccan-background at Punchbowl Boy’s High School in Sydney’s Western Suburbs.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr and Environment Minister Tony Burke visited the school for a Q&A session with students on Thursday morning.

When Senator Carr said he was meeting the Moroccan Foreign Minister for lunch he asked students if they knew anything about Morocco.

Mr Zaroual confidently stood up and gave a little speech about Morocco and said that his family came from Casablanca.

Senator Carr was so impressed that he invited Mr Zaroual and his mother along to the luncheon.

“It is a wonderful example of Australian multiculturalism,” Senator Carr said.

“I am proud that one can walk into any classroom in Australia and find students from such a diverse range of backgrounds.

“Those backgrounds help Australia to connect with dignitaries in other countries – Taj Zaroual is an example of what is so great about this country.”








 












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