PNG: PM's appeal calms troops
PNG: PM's appeal calms troops
23 March 2001
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PM'S APPEAL CALMS TROOPS
PORT MORESBY (Pasifik Nius): Prime
Minister Sir Mekere Morauta's
passionate plea to Papua New Guinea soldiers through a letter yesterday
appeared to have been just the tonic needed to calm down tempers in the
rank and file, the National reports.
"His letter to
us is magic, it is working," said one military
last night. "The letter from the Prime Minister came to us like an olive
branch, it has touched many of us," said the soldier.
He was referring to the following
lines Sir Mekere wrote: "Gentlemen,
together we have a duty to protect and preserve the integrity of our
country, not only for the present generation, but also for our children
"I appeal to
you as Papua New Guineans to help me in this enormous
It is only together that we can face the many challenges we face with
some degree of confidence and hope of success.
"God be with you, and may He work through
us to do what is right for our
country," Sir Mekere said in conclusion.
In the preceding lines, Sir Mekere
apologised to the soldiers for any
misunderstanding that he was to attend the gathering at the Murray
Barracks rugby oval on Tuesday. He blamed radio broadcasts for the wrong
The rest of the contents of his letter to the soldiers reads as follows:
"I write to you
to convey directly two very important
decisions regarding the Defence Force and the current situation.
"Cabinet at its meeting No. 11/2001 on
Monday, 19 March confirmed the
decision of the Prime Minister not to implement the recommendations of
the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group Report.
"Cabinet at its
special meeting No 11/2001 on Monday, 19 March
that an unconditional amnesty has been granted to all soldiers who are
affected or involved in the current situation. A copy of my press
release of today's date on this subject confirms this.
"I do apologise for
any misunderstanding that I would attend the parade
at Murray Barracks today.
That misunderstanding was directly
created by the National Broadcasting
Corporation. The statements broadcast by NBC were not authorised by me
or by my office.
"I was never to attend. The Minister for
Defence has the fully authority
of my Cabinet and Government to meet you, negotiate and report back to
"I feel that the Government has given you the
most important assurances
that you need for you to put this incident behind us by normalising the
"I look forward to meeting your leaders
after Minister Genia has
delivered to me your petition. My meeting with your leaders will provide
an opportunity for you to raise any other issues or grievances that you
may still have. If necessary, the Minister and I well then take those
issues to Cabinet," said the Prime Minister in his letter to the troops.
In another letter to
the acting commander of the PNG Defence
Brigadier-General Carl Marlpo, Sir Mekere instructed him to uphold the
Cabinet decisions, "observe them and relay them clearly and widely to
officers and the rank and file of the Defence Force."
has done its part. It is now up to you and your
to do your part," Sir Mekere told Brig Gen Marlpo.
For most part of yesterday, the commanding
officers of each unit had
separate meetings with their men and conveyed Sir Mekere's plea to the
rank and file.