We have to lead from front: PNG

Papua New Guinea says that as the biggest economy in the region they have to lead from the front and not just wait for Australia, New Zealand, the US or
10 Aug 2014 10:24

Papua New Guinea says that as the biggest economy in the region they have to lead from the front and not just wait for Australia, New Zealand, the US or China for assistance.
Chief of Staff in the Prime Minister’s office Isaac Lupari was responding to the controversy over the appointment of Dame Meg Taylor as Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum and the associated report in the Fiji Sun.
A Post-Courier report said: “Fiji’s Prime Minister Rear Admiral (retired) Voreqe Bainimarama has shied away from the glare of the media in regards to the diplomatic spat between Fiji and Papua New Guinea.
The PNG newspaper said it called Mr Bainimarama for direct comments over the Fiji Sun’s editorial on the selection of Dame Meg Taylor to the Pacific Island Forum top post – the secretarygeneral.
It said Bainimarama’s office told the newspaper that Fiji Sun’s editorial was not necessarily the Fiji Government’s stand on Papua New Guinea and the reports of accusations of reneging the leaders to vote for PNG’s candidate and waving K500 million (US$204 million) to fund smaller nations.
“Prime Minister Bainimarama is on his way to New Zealand but briefly says that it’s not his Government’s view and will not give their stand in the media,” they told the Post-Courier.
The Post-Courier report said: “The PM’s officials also said that, “Nemani Delaibatiki was reflecting his own view, and perhaps the view of one or two people within Fiji Government, but not the Fiji Government.
“The Fijian High Commission in Port Moresby could not comment as they said any response would have to come from Fiji.”
Meanwhile, the PNG government said the Fiji Sun newspaper’s attack on PNG on the appointment of Dame Meg Taylor as secretary general of the Pacific Island Forum was typical of an attempt by a news medium to shift the focus away from the issues that dominated the 45th PIF meeting in Palau.
“As the 45th PIF Communique signed by the leaders confirm, many of our small island neighbours in the Pacific are faced with a series of challenges, including climate change and rise in sea level, food security, depleting marine stocks, transnational crime, and many others.
“During the PIF Leaders Summit it was accepted that all islands nations in the region would not achieve their Millennium Development Goal targets by 2015, hence the need to carry those unfinished business into the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which is post 2015.
“Lacking the resources to help meet these targets and address the challenges, the leaders called for financial assistance to help island countries rise to the challenges. For most of these island countries, their Gross National Product is dependent on foreign aid and their annual quota from commercial fishing in the region.
“The K500 million (US$204 million) announced by the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was an assistance program developed by the government in response to the challenges that many of our small island friends are simply unable to deal with on their own.
“The assistance programme is based on many concerted discussions with Island countries over time and it was not thought out overnight,” Mr Lupari said in a statement.
“The security and well-being of the nations in the region is in our (PNG) best interest as well. The suggestion by the Fiji Sun newspaper that PNG forked out “K500 million inducement” to install Dame Meg Taylor as PIF secretary general is utter nonsense, and is an attack on the integrity of the PIF leaders.
“Dame Meg Taylor did not need any inducement to win the post. She is well credentialed, and is a highly respected citizen of the region. Over the years she has performed exceptionally well at the global stage. We are grateful that she has accepted the challenge to contribute in the region by accepting this job,” he said.
“Papua New Guinea’s relation with Fiji, and indeed other countries in the Pacific region, remains strong and vibrant,” Lupari said.


Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus