Australian defence chief in PNG to enhance ties

From THE NATIONAL

News
Thu 01 Aug 2013

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Papua New Guinea
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PORT MORESBY, PNG -- The Australian Chief of the Defence Force, Gen David Hurley, is visiting the country this week “in support of our enduring PNG-Australia defence partnership”.

He is here with his wife, Linda, on his inaugural visit and will meet PNG Defence Force troops in Port Moresby and Wewak, East Sepik.

He will hold talks with PNGDF commander Brig-Gen Francis Agwi and discuss ways in which Australia and PNG can work together to ensure that the region is safe and secure.

“The PNGDF has been an important contributor to regional operations such as the Regional Assistance Mission in Solomon Islands (RAMSI), and is important that we build on our experience,” says Australia’s Defence adviser in Port Moresby, Col Dick Parker.

Gen Hurley will meet Defence secretary John Porti and government officials to discuss ways to increase defence ties.

This follows the signing of a PNG-Australia defence cooperation arrangement by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in May.

“The defence cooperation arrangement recognises the maturity of the defence relationship between PNG and Australia,” Parker said.

“The arrangement will be used as framework to deliver an expanded defence cooperation programme activities in PNG, which this year will grow to approximately A$27 million (K56.3 million).”

Linda (Hurley) will meet with defence force families and experience Port Moresby’s significant cultural and historical sights.

Meanwhile, after months of extensive consultation, collecting and analysing information, the PNG Defence White Paper Office based in Murray Barracks, handed over the draft Defence White Paper 2013 to the National Security Policy Technical Working Group (NSPTWG) on Friday the 26th of July 2013 at the Kokoda Trail Hotel.

On handing over the draft Defence White Paper, the Team Leader of the Defence White Paper Office, Lieutenant Colonel Siale Diro, said ‘This draft contains months of consultation, collection and analysis, and represents the collective advice from Defence on how best we can develop and serve our country.

“It has been produced solely by Papua New Guineans for Papua New Guinean interests,” he said.

On hand to receive the draft was the Director General of OSCA Mr Ian Jinga, the Team Leader of the NSPTWG Brigadier General (Rtd) Ken Noga, and other members of the NSPTWG from the PM’s Department, Foreign Affairs, Vision 2050, CIS, NIO, Customs, Community Development and Personnel Management.

Mr Jinga siad: “I congratulate Defence for the effort they have put into developing this draft. The Defence White Paper is owned by the National Government and will therefore be shaped to meet government intent.

The NSPTWG will now effect input to the draft Defence White Paper from all government agencies, particularly those in the security sector, before processing it through the Defence Council, the National Security Council and NEC for approval. Our aim is to launch the National Security Policy and the Defence White Paper together this year.”


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