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Goff Concern Over PNG


Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Media Statement

20 March 2001

GOFF CONCERN OVER PNG


Foreign Minister Phil Goff said New Zealand is concerned at the threat to the lawfully elected Papua New Guinea government posed by the actions of a number of renegade members of the PNG Defence Force.

"I have been following the situation very closely and spoke to the Papua New Guinea Foreign Affairs Minister Bart Philemon last night.

"The mutiny poses a threat to the constitutional process. Whatever the grievances of the soldiers, New Zealand does not condone any actions which threaten the democratic process.

"Use of violence by elements in the military can only serve to destabilise Papua New Guinea and set back its economic and social development. The international community would strongly denounce any action by military personnel aimed at removing the government.

"There are proper procedures for dealing with concerns, and they do not include resort to firearms and threatening the lawfully elected government.

"Weapons and ammunition must be returned to secure storage. When that is done I am sure the Papua New Guinea Government would then be prepared to establish a dialogue to discuss any legitimate concerns of the PNG Defence Forces," Mr Goff said.

ENDS

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