Review into Australia Defence Treaty

Prime Minister, James Marape, has stated that Papua New Guinea’s Defence Security Treaty with Australia has been pushed back due to wording changes in the treaty documents.

Australia Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, Richard Marles, was also in attendance of the Korea-Pacific Islands Summit and spoke to PM Marape on the margins of the meeting in regards to the Treaty.

“I just want to confirm on certain wordings and I did inform the Deputy Prime Minister Marles that we do not agree on certain words that are used. We felt that they encroach into our sovereign rights and asked them to go back.  These are matters of working progress for us and the Deputy Prime Minister was very kind and gracious, he does acknowledge that in these sorts of bilateral engagements two sides must agree to what is to be signed upon.

“So those are matters before our working officials, it hasn’t reached my level as yet, it is still at the technical official level at the exchange of papers between our side and their side. We have responded back to what we feel are the correct words, from my information they have responded back and our side is going through this one (Treaty),” stated Marape.

Marape emphasized that the Defence Security Treaty with Australia is different from the Defense Corporation Agreement that PNG have done with USA and others around.

“Whenever we find that these are the correct text on the Defense Security Treaty with Australia, we will get on with it so at the moment we have no agreed on the text what should be the Treaty,” said PM Marape.

He explained the difference between Treaty and Agreement and the importance of the process in Treaty signing.

“Treaty for information of all is higher than an agreement. Treaty will require parliament ratifications so these are not again something where our Minister-to-Minister just agrees on or happens but it goes through due process on both sides of the government, Canberra’s processes as well as Waigani’s processes measured against the laws that govern our two countries.

“He’s (Marles) noted the reason why we’ve said it will not be signed in the form that was proposed. They’ve taken it back, we’re also taking our side back and looking through it,” he added.

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