THE AUSTRALIAN: Pyne slams Carr as ‘dangerous amateur’ 21Jan13 January 21, 2013

by Miranda Rout and Christian Kerr    -    The Australian    -    21 January 2013

191485-christopher-pyneSENIOR opposition frontbencher Christopher Pyne has labelled Foreign Minister Bob Carr a “dangerous amateur” who has damaged Australia’s reputation by condemning the expanding Israeli settlements in the occupied territories as “illegal” under international law.

In a joint communique released after the Australia-Britain ministerial talks in Perth on Friday, Senator Carr and British Foreign Secretary William Hague — Mr Pyne’s conservative colleague — made an urgent plea to US President Barack Obama to kick-start the Middle East peace process.

The strongly worded statement also called on Israel to stop increasing settlement activity in occupied territories as it was illegal under international law and it “undermines the prospects for peace”.

“The UK and Australia call on the US to lead a major effort in 2013 for a negotiated two-state solution with a secure Israel alongside a Palestinian state,” the communique stated.

But Mr Pyne, leader of opposition business in the House of Representatives, said yesterday he did not agree with the minister’s remarks. “Bob Carr is a dangerous amateur who has ended the bipartisanship between Labor and the Coalition that has marked Australia’s approach to Israel since 1948,” he told The Australian.

“He will permanently damage Australia’s reputation in the world as a supporter of freedom and democracy the longer he continues as Foreign Minister.”

Mr Pyne disputed that the Israeli settlements were illegal.

“There is no basis for his most recent outburst on settlements,” he said. “Our allies must be shaking their heads in wonder at how far to the Left Bob Carr is taking our foreign policy.”

But a spokesman for Senator Carr yesterday hit back, questioning why Mr Pyne was calling his British conservative colleague a “dangerous amateur”.

“Unfortunately, name-calling in domestic politics is part of the course, but when a shadow minister starts calling the UK Foreign Minister a dangerous amateur, he risks damaging Australia’s international reputation and making his party an international laughing stock,” he said. “I doubt Tony Abbott would support these remarks and I suggest he has words with Mr Pyne.”

Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop said the Coalition had long supported the two-state solution.

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