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Australian Rejects French Invitation to A-Test Site

From Reuters

Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke today rejected an invitation by French President Francois Mitterrand to visit France’s nuclear test site at Mururoa Atoll in the South Pacific.

“He is saying to the countries of the region, ‘Come and see how absolutely safe it is,’ ” Hawke told reporters.

“I have one message and one message alone for President Mitterrand . . . : Take his tests back to France and have those absolutely safe tests in metropolitan France.”

Hawke, in Papua New Guinea for the country’s 10th anniversary of independence, also told France to stop nuclear tests in the Pacific.

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Dangerous Dimension

He also said Mitterrand’s assertion that critics of the test program were adversaries of France introduced a very dangerous dimension into international relations.

Asked if the Australian government, a vociferous critic of the tests, saw itself as an adversary of France, Hawke said: “The logic of that is, and I understand that the French have a great love of logic, that if you oppose a particular policy of another country then you are its foe.

“That introduces a very dangerous dimension into relations between nations. I repudiate it.”

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Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Michael Somare today signed the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty hammered out at a regional forum last month, the ninth leader to do so.

No Immediate Reaction

There was no immediate reaction to Mitterrand’s invitation from Somare or other Pacific leaders attending the Port Moresby festivities, but in Wellington, Western Samoan Prime Minister Tofilau Eti joined Hawke in spurning it.

New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange, meanwhile, called for an end to the war of words between Wellington and Paris and said he was ready to fly to Paris at short notice if Mitterrand would see him.

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“Let’s cool it, let’s get back to what the issues are,” he told reporters.

Lange said he had received no formal notification from France of an invitation to visit Mururoa.

“I’d want to see Mitterrand, not look down a bomb crater,” he said.

Mitterrand’s invitation, Page 12.

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