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Goff Support For Constitutional Govt In PNG


Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Media Statement

24 March 2001

GOFF CALLS FOR SUPPORT FOR CONSTITUTIONAL GOVT IN PNG


Foreign Minister Phil Goff has called on renegade members of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force in Port Moresby to return all stolen weapons and drop their political demands on the Morauta Government.

Mr Goff noted that the core demands of the renegade soldiers had been met by Prime Minister Morauta's agreement to withdraw the Defence Force reform report and agreement to an amnesty for those soldiers who removed weapons from the Defence Force armoury. He said soldiers should now respond by dropping their political demands and supporting the constitutional process.

New Zealand is concerned to see that the proper processes available to resolve differences are followed rather than standover tactics.

"At this time, I would hope that key Papua New Guinea political and military leaders will rally behind Prime Minister Morauta and the legally elected government of Papua New Guinea," said Mr Goff.

The Minister noted that the renegade soldiers have called for the expulsion of World Bank and IMF expatriate staff, as well as some New Zealand and Australian military personnel.

"The World Bank and IMF were invited to PNG to support the Government's structural reform programme. Any such expulsions would have a detrimental impact on the process of economic adjustment, and the ability of the Papua New Guinea Government to deliver essential services to its people. This would naturally be of concern to the friends of PNG in the Asia/Pacific region. And in my view, the expulsion of New Zealand and Australian military personnel would be similarly unhelpful," said Mr Goff.

New Zealand currently has one army officer providing technical assistance to the PNG Defence Force.

ENDS.


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