PNG DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER LASARO REMAINS WITH EMBATTLED PM SKATE

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (July 1, 1999 - Post-Courier/Abridged)---Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Treasury and Planning Iairo Lasaro yesterday dissociated himself with the announcement by the leader of People's Democratic Movement (PDM), Sir Mekere Morauta, to leave the government.

He said he would remain with the government until a vote of no confidence was moved against it.

Mr. Lasaro said though he had reaffirmed his commitment to remain with the party last week and promised to work under Sir Mekere, he was not consulted on the decision cross the floor.

"I want to inform the people of Papua New Guinea of my position in relation to the announcement by the PDM to leave government, that the decision was made without consultation and I will continue to stay with the Government until July 13, when the vote of no-confidence is entertained,'' he said.

He said the political power struggle at this time of the year was not needed and leaders had to think seriously and come together to address common problems facing the country, instead of craving for power.

Mr. Lasaro used one of the popular lines often used by Prime Minister Bill Skate when sacking ministers of his coalition partners -- that PDM was not sacked as a party, just some of its members, and they should not have left the government.

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

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