Sunday, April 01, 2018

Papua New Guinea Foreign Minister praises New Zealand’s new focus on the Pacific

Ministry of Foreign Affairs 

 Papua New Guinea’s Minister for Foreign Affairs  Rimbink Pato has welcomed the renewed focus on Papua New Guinea and the Pacific recently announced by New Zealand.
 Pato conveyed his views at a meeting in Wellington on March 28 with his counterpart,  Winston Peters, who is also Deputy Prime Minister.
 He expressed deep gratitude for the “quick and generous” earthquake recovery assistance extended by New Zealand.
Later, in an address to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs,  Pato said he welcomed with great enthusiasm the “Pacific reset” policy as described by Peters in a recent speech to one of Australia's foremost think tanks, the Lowy Institute in Sydney.
 Pato said the whole of the Pacific would be pleased to hear that New Zealand intended to move its Pacific relationship past the donor-recipient interaction into a genuine mature political partnership.
“This is exactly the type of relationship we want with the biggest partnership donors to our region, New Zealand and Australia,” he said.
“Such is the population mix particularly in New Zealand but also in Australia, that it is clear the blue ‘continent’ of the Pacific has its deepest cultural relations with Australasia, relations with deep roots in our history, our economies, our families."
 Pato praised the “legendary generosity” of New Zealand.
“This was demonstrated most quickly by its quick and extremely bountiful assistance to us after the recent devastating earthquake in my country,” he said.
 Pato said New Zealand gave  immediate practical help,  including the use of a C130 aircraft to take supplies to the affected  areas, and an assistance package of more than $3.5 million.
“We are most grateful to the New Zealand government and people," he said.
" We will never forget this.
"And we will also be forever grateful for the major contribution New Zealand is making to the APEC summit we are hosting in November.”
 Pato said New Zealand’s continuing and renewed focus on the Pacific was in the interest of  both countries.
“For New Zealand, I see it clearly in your interest to have economically developed partners and allies in the Pacific, all with a clear commitment to democracy, transparency and accountability," he said.
 Pato referred to advice and assistance by New Zealand in hydro-electricity schemes,  agriculture and the environment, gender equality programmes, education and other training, small and medium business, fisheries protection and climate change resilience measures.
He said PNG was a strong advocate of a rules-based international order founded on justice.
Pato praised Minister Peters “for his complimentary remarks about our chief security and development partner, Australia” and for his views that New Zealand and Australia needed to join together more than ever to face the challenges of regional instability and global uncertainty.

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