Jayapura, Jubi – Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare held a bilateral meeting with the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill after his arrival in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, on Monday (30/5/2016) for the 8th ACP Heads of State and Government Summit.
During the meeting at the Airways Hotel, Hon Sogavare and Hon O’Neill discussed range of issues of mutual interest between Solomon Islands and PNG.
On direct bilateral cooperation programs between the two countries, the PNG Prime Minister thanked his Solomon Islands counterpart and Honiara for continuing to support the PNG Government on issues of mutual interest at the regional and international level and also for continuing to encourage trade between the two countries.
Prime Minister O’Neill highlighted that the number of PNG companies operating in Solomon Islands is continuing to increase and he is excited about this growing rate of PNG investment in Solomon Islands.
He also expressed the desire of the PNG Government to pursue border arrangements with Solomon Islands that will ensure free movement of people of close cultural ties across the border between the two countries.
On the issue of the appointment of the new MSG Director-General, Prime Minister O’Neill told Prime Minister Sogavare, as the MSG Chair, that Port Moresby has not objected to the appointment of the new Director-General, Mr Amena Yauvoli, but would like to see the appointment endorsed by the MSG leaders during their Special Summit which is expected to take place sometimes this June.
Prime Minister O’Neill said he is looking forward for the next MSG Leaders’ Summit.
On the issue of West Papua, the PNG Prime Minister has expressed his desire to see that a regional delegation, preferably endorsed by Pacific Islands Forum, visit Indonesia to assess allegations of human rights violations in West Papua, adding that the Indonesian Government has already invited a PNG delegation to visit Indonesia for the same reason lately.
However, he said due to security issues affecting both PNG and Indonesia, especially border incursions, the PNG Government will always be mindful of how it deals with this issue with Indonesia.
In response, Prime Minister Sogavare thanked his PNG counterpart for the opportunity of this bilateral meeting before the ACP Heads of State and Government Summit proper and expressed satisfaction at the position of the PNG Government on many issues affecting both countries.
Prime Minister Sogavare expressed to Prime Minister O’Neill that as the Chair of MSG, he understands the various issues affecting the position of Papua New Guinea on the issue of West Papua.
Nevertheless, he said it is his desire to see that a Pacific regional delegation is deployed to West Papua on a fact-finding mission in the immediate future to assess the allegations of human rights abuses that continue to emerge from West Papua.
Prime Minister Sogavare told Prime Minister O’Neill that as the MSG Chair, he will continue to seek international attention on the allegations of serious human rights violations in West Papua.
It is expected that Prime Minister Sogavare will also be using the opportunity of the ACP Heads of State and Government Summit in Port Moresby to rally for an ACP Coalition for West Papua.
Over 500 delegates including 13 prime ministers, four vice-presidents, one deputy prime minister, one speaker of parliament, 14 ministers, 16 ambassadors from the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of nations are attending the 8th ACP Heads of State and Government Summit. (Victor Mambor)