Bilateral Security Treaty expanded

The Bilateral Security Treaty between Australia and Papua New Guinea had been expanded to cover broader security areas of priority.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Justin Tkatchenko, in a press conference in Port Moresby, highlighted significant areas of concern to be added into the treaty agreement including cybercrime, climate change, money laundering, biosecurity, internal security and gender-based violence.

“The definition of the security treaty has been expanded which I think is a very good thing, it’s not just about Defence but all the other important areas as well.

“One of the biggest issues was visa, that comes under Department of Immigration but Foreign Affairs has an important role to play in that area as well.

“I want to thank the Government of Australia under Prime Minister Anthony Albanese who has acknowledged that they have treated PNG unfairly with visa issues.

“That’s a strong wording to acknowledge the visa situation in hand,” Minister Tkatchenko said.

He added that April 30th 2023 was the deadline for the treaty to be signed by both prime ministers.

“Our deadline to get all that finished and completed is on April 30th, my department and other line agencies will be working closely with the Australian Government and their officials and counterparts to ensure that this is achieved for both prime ministers to sign off.”

“For Defence, that will continue to go down the normal process of the diplomatic relationships.

“With the Departments of Immigration, Foreign Affairs, State Solicitor and Justice, we will work closely with Australian officials on how we are finally going to resolve the visa issue between PNG and Australia at the annual Ministerial Forum in Canberra on February 17th 2023.”

“We are not wasting time, we have dates, deadlines and we want to make this happen for the good of our people.”

“Those long outstanding issues that were discussed between the two prime ministers were important,” he said. “Economic stability and other issues were discussed in the bilateral which will also be finalized at the ministerial forum.”

Tkatchenko said eight ministers of state would be joining him in Canberra to address those outstanding issues.

“We look forward to concluding some of these issues into the future by February and by May the two prime ministers will get together and sign off on this important bilateral security treaty.”

Meanwhile, Tkatchenko acknowledged the Government for a successful two-day official visit by Prime Minister for Australia Anthony Albanese and commended the department of Foreign Affairs and other line agencies who assisted in organizing the official visit.

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