Sunday, October 19, 2014

Papua New Guinea-Australia PM’s meeting on Manus asylum seekers

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill had a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott today on the Regional Resettlement Arrangement (RRA) of asylum seekers at the Lombrum Regional Processing Centre in Manus.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who was accompanied by Australian Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Scott Morrison, stopped over for the briefing en-route to Indonesia.
At the briefing,  O'Neill expressed his support of the work done by officials from both countries in addressing the resettlement of the asylum seekers in Manus.
"We are pleased to have worked with your government on this important initiative,"  O'Neill said.
"The RRA, combined with Australia's other maritime patrol measures, have stopped maritime people smuggling in our region and the associated loss of life at sea."
 O'Neill added that after the unfortunate incident at the processing center in Manus, measures have been taken to improve security and management of processing at the center.
"There is now improved coordination between the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Services Authority (ICSA), Police and center security, installation of CCTV cameras and the refugee status determination process is progressing."
In terms of a refugee settlement policy,  O'Neill said due to lack of understanding and support for refugee settlement in PNG communities, he has instructed that a new policy be prepared with increased focus on consultations and building public awareness and support.
"The new policy will be considered by cabinet after these comprehensive public awareness and consultations are completed," O'Neill said.
O'Neill assured  Abbott that PNG is committed to the implementation of the RRA and given its sensitivities, requires time to work through this issues.
O'Neill is travelling to Indonesia to witness the inauguration of the newly elected President of Indonesia, to establish contact with the new president, discuss bilateral issues and to invite the President to visit PNG.
He is accompanied by Minister for Foreign Affairs Rimbink Pato and Minister for State Enterprises  Ben Micah.

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