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PNG PM meets leaders of soldiers' group

PNG PM meets leaders of soldiers' group
Government of PNG

For release 22 March 2001
The Prime Minister, Sir Mekere Morauta, today met Defence Force soldiers at Mirigini House after receiving their petition from the Commander, Brigadier-General Carl Marlpo.

He expressed on behalf of the people of Papua New Guinea his pleasure at the return to normalcy at Murray Barracks, especially the soldiers' decision to begin handing in weapons.

"This afternoon's events prove once again that Papua New Guineans - all sections of society - can discuss their differences calmly and responsibly," he said.

"Today's decisions by the soldiers, their officers and the Government mean we can all now set about the great task of reconstruction and development that we began nearly two years ago."

Sir Mekere said he had already begun to consider the soldiers' petition and would respond to it after very careful assessment. The petition is also now being considered by the Defence Minister, Mr Kilroy Genia, and senior Government officials.

A submission would be prepared for National Executive Council. The Prime Minister said he would not set a deadline for responding to the soldiers.

"It is important that we have sufficient time to ensure that we make quality decisions," he said. "It would be wrong to go back to the soldiers with a response that is rushed and therefore not fully thought out."

Sir Mekere said the meeting was all that he expected. "The soldiers were very frank, and I thank them for that," he said.

"I also reciprocate their vow to work together, not only for the future of the Defence Force but for the future of the country.

"Their view that we must forget the past and move forward with our mutual plans for our nation are views that I share and wish to bring to reality."

Morauta House, Waigani, P.O. BOX 639, WAIGANI, Papua New Guinea
Telephone: (675) 327 6544 Facsimile: (675) 327 6630
Parliament Office, National Paliament House, WAIGANI, N.C.D., Papua New Guinea.
Telephone: (675) 327 7325, (675) 327 7311 Facsimile: (675) 327 7328

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