A DAY after Minister for Foreign Affairs Bob Carr called on Russia and China to warn Syria’s Assad regime it could be crossing a line, he visited Berry Courthouse to talk about his more positive experiences.
Meeting about 50 Labor Party faithfuls to support Gilmore candidate Neil Reilly, Senator Carr spoke about Australia’s humanitarian efforts overseas, including his visits to Myanmar, Cambodia and Indonesia.
‘‘It is in our interest to have a zone of prosperity from Myanmar to Vietnam for our security,’’ he said.
‘‘That is as much in our security interests as the latest big warships or latest fighter bombers as to have 10 stable societies to the north and we’ve come a long way.’’
He accused the Coalition of linking the amount of aid to trade relationships.
‘‘We’re getting rid of malaria in the Solomon Islands; that has nothing to do with trade,’’ he said.
‘‘Our two-way trade with the Solomons is extremely limited [but] we can’t allow malaria to take over – it would contribute to them going backwards to that lawlessness, it’s got nothing to do with trade.
‘‘It should be related to being a good global citizen.’’
With France pushing for a response of force in the event weapons inspectors confirmed chemical weapons had been used in Syria, a member of the audience asked Senator Carr what Australia’s response was likely to be.
Senator Carr said Labor would not send troops to Syria.
‘‘We give humanitarian aid to refugees outside Syria – we want a political solution, that is a peaceful political transition inside the country accompanied, of course, by a ceasefire,’’ he said.
‘‘We’ll be encouraging [Assad regime supporters Russia and China] to have a good hard look at the evidence that emerges from the investigation.’’
Opposition groups said as many as 1300 people died on Thursday in a chemical weapons attack on Ghouta, however the toll could not be independently verified. While the use of chemicals has not been confirmed, doctors on the scene reported injuries consistent with the use of nerve gas and pesticides.
Australia is set to take the president’s role on the UN Security Council from September 1 to lead the international debate on the Syrian crisis.