FOREIGN DIPLOMATS IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA ASK FOR PROTECTION

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (February 11, 1999 - PACNEWS/NBC)---Foreign diplomats in Papua New Guinea say they are facing serious security risks in the country and have asked the government to improve and guarantee their security.

Dean of the foreign diplomats, Japanese ambassador to Papua New Guinea, Tasuhide Hayashi, voiced the concern last night, at an informal dinner hosted by new Foreign Affairs Secretary, Evoa Laiafute, in Waigani.

The heads of foreign missions, diplomatic staff and representatives of international organizations in Port Moresby attended the dinner.

Ambassador Hayashi told the gathering, that diplomats and their families have been deeply affected by a recent string of attacks on them.

He said the incidents have cast doubts over the commitment by them and their nations to serve in a country that shows no respect for their security and personal well being, as well as that of their families.

Hayashi said foreign missions nevertheless are keen to help Papua New Guinea develop by promoting financial and other aid, while at the same time promoting the interests of their respective nations in PNG.

Papua New Guinea's new Foreign Affairs Secretary, Evoa Laiafute, acknowledged that maintaining law and order is the government's biggest problem. He said everything is being done to guarantee the safety of the foreign diplomats and to ensure that Papua New Guinea's relationships with foreign nations prosper.

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