AUSTRALIA NOT SURE HOW PNG WILL RESPOND TO SOLDIERS' DEMANDS FOR EXPULSION OF

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CANBERRA, Australia (March 24, 2001 – Radio Australia)---Australia’s Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says he is not sure how the Papua New Guinea government will respond to calls for the expulsion of Australian military advisors.

It’s a matter for the PNG government to resolve, he said.

The demand is one of several made by rebel soldiers who were involved in a weeklong standoff with the government.

The soldiers had been expected to start handing back the illegally seized weapons today, after a meeting yesterday with Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta.

Sir Mekere agreed to a list of their demands, which includes a call for Parliament to be recalled and Australian military advisors to be expelled.

 

AUSTRALIA RELEASES AUS$ 20 MILLION LOAN TO PNG

CANBERRA, Australia (March 24, 2001 – Radio Australia)---Australia has released a loan worth AUS$ 20 million (US$ 9,934,000) to the Papua New Guinea government.

It’s the second part of a loan pledge of AUS$ 60 million (US$ 29,802,000).

Treasurer Peter Costello said the money demonstrates Australia’s continuing confidence in the reform program of PNG Prime Minister Mekere Morauta.

Mr. Costello said the loan will help PNG meet temporary budget problems.

The final stage of the loan -- another AUS$ 20 million dollars (US$ 9,934,000) -- will be released after a review of Papua New Guinea by the International Monetary Fund, Mr. Costello added.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

 

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