AUSTRALIA ASSURES PNG OF LONG-TERM FRIENDSHIP
A zoom meeting between PNG Prime Minister James Marape and his Australian counterpart, Anthony Albanese today saw each country pledged continued support towards each other.
PM Marape became one of the first world leaders to have such a meeting with Australia’s political leader.
PM Marape in Port Moresby had a 15-minute zoom meeting with PM Albanese in Canberra on his first day in office since the Australian Labour Party (ALP) won the national elections in Australia on May 21.
This follows on from a meeting between PM Marape and a representative of PM Albanese, on the sidelines of the Australia-Papua New Guinea Business Forum in Brisbane last Tuesday, while he was attending another meeting in Japan.
The ALP has been a strong supporter of PNG over the years, and through then Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in 1975, granted Independence to PNG. PM Alabanese’s Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Richard Marles, is a good friend of PNG.
PM Marape invited PM Albanese to visit PNG after the elections and the Australian Prime Minister reciprocated by inviting him to visit Australia.
He thanked Australia for its continued support of PNG over the years, and pledged his support to PM Albanese in the Pacific Islands Forum.
PM Albanese assured PM Marape that Australia would continue to be “a long-term friend of PNG”.
“Let me thank you for Australia’s support to us thus far, not only since 1975, but more importantly, over the last two years,” PM Marape told PM Albanese.
“Your predecessor (Hon. Scott Morrison), the Government and people of Australia have given us good support since COVID-19 came onshore and affected our economy.
“When we were trying to restructure our budgeting, on infrastructure needs, there was a lot of help from Australia.”
“We don’t take this help for granted: you have your own needs but you reached out to us in times of need.
“We sincerely appreciate this help.”
PM Marape thanked PM Albanese for Australia’s support of the 2022 General Election by way of printing ballot papers, and much-needed support fot air logistics through the Australian Defence Force.
PM Abanese said: “Democracy can be difficult but it is the best system in the world.
“I wish you all the best and I look forward to further developing our relationship.
“Australia, of course, can be relied upon to be a long-term friend of Papua New Guinea.”