INDEPENDENT NEWS

PNG Government Puts Off NZ Parliamentary Visit

Published: Fri 29 Jun 2001 03:35 PM
PNG Government Puts Off NZ Parliamentary Delegation Visit
New Zealand Foreign Minister Phil Goff will postpone his visit to Papua New Guinea next week at the request of the PNG government.
Mr Goff was to have led a Parliamentary delegation visit Papua New Guinea on the third leg of a trip including Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. The PNG leg has now been cancelled.
"The Papua New Guinea government has requested that my visit be postponed. The PNG government's decision was taken on the advice of its National Security Committee.
"The Papua New Guinea government has advised that while the situation in Port Moresby is calmer, it has not yet stabilised to the point where such a visit could be easily accommodated.
"I will be visiting Papua New Guinea next month to witness the signing of the agreement under which the National Government will grant autonomy to the Province of Bougainville," Mr Goff said.
Mr Goff said that the first two legs of the planned trip would still proceed. These will take the party to Vanuatu and Honiara in the Solomons.
In Vanuatu the party would meet the new government of Prime Minister Edward
Natapei and visit New Zealand ODA projects, including just completed reconstruction work undertaken by the New Zealand Defence Force on Malakula
Island under exercise "Tropic Twilight".
In Honiara the Minister will call on Prime Minister Sogovare and other ministers and will also hold meetings with the Peace Monitoring Council and the International Peace Monitoring Team. The IPMT Deputy Leader is a New Zealander and there are 14 New Zealanders in the IPMT, most of whom are stationed out of Honiara.
Ends

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