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Goff concern over civil unrest in PNG

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Media Statement

26 June 2001

Goff concern over civil unrest in PNG

Foreign Minister Phil Goff has said he was following with concern today’s civil unrest in Port Moresby.

"I am receiving worrying reports about widespread looting, arson and clashes with police. Most businesses have been closed and there is a confirmed report of at least one death. The situation is volatile. What began as a student protest against the government's privatisation programme appears to have been taken over by criminal elements.

"Leading PNG politicians and public figures have appealed for calm. I hope that these are heeded before there is more violence.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a travel notice advising New Zealanders in Port Moresby to remain indoors. New Zealanders intending to travel to PNG should defer all non-essential travel until the situation is brought under control.

"Expatriates have not been targeted by the rioters and there are no reports of New Zealanders being caught up in the clashes which have occurred throughout today. The New Zealand High Commissioner has reported that Port Moresby is calmer at the moment but police fear that there may be further trouble after dark," Mr Goff said.

Mr Goff noted that next week he is scheduled to visit PNG with a delegation of New Zealand MPs, NGOs, academics and media. "I hope the trip will proceed but clearly we will be monitoring developments closely and talking to the PNG authorities before taking a final decision."


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