By Eoin Blackwell, AAP Papua New Guinea Correspondent
PAPUA New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has congratulated Kevin Rudd on his return to the Australian prime ministership, and says the strong relationship between the two countries will continue.Mr O'Neill has also thanked former prime minister Julia Gillard for her commitment to the PNG/Australia relationship over the past three years.
"On behalf of the government and people of Papua New Guinea, I congratulate Kevin Rudd on his election as Leader of his party, and on returning to the high office of Prime Minister of Australia," he said in a statement on Thursday.
"I am sure the mutually beneficial and strong relationship between Papua New Guinea and Australia will continue."
Mr O'Neill also wished Ms Gillard "every happiness and success in the future".
Ms Gillard made her first visit to PNG as prime minister in early May and pledged to redefine the relationship beyond its traditional setting of donor/aid.