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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (September 18, 2001 - Post-Courier/PINA Nius Online)---The Papua New Guinea Defense Force’s maritime unit will benefit from an important assistance project established with the support of other Western Pacific countries.

The Western Pacific Naval Symposium hosted by the Papua New Guinea Defense Force and held during the Independence Day weekend resolved a number of issues and passed resolutions that will benefit the marine unit.

The symposium of naval delegations from Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Canada, Chile, France and India resolved that Papua New Guinea host another similar symposium in 2006. Malaysia will host the next one in 2002.

The United States of America was unable to participate in the weekend symposium because of the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

The Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu and others could not attend because of in-country problems.

The Chairman of the 2001 Western Pacific Naval Symposium, Captain Alois Ur Tom, said the symposium was a significant event for PNG because of several achievements gained.

"The issue is inter-operability in the Pacific and abroad," Captain Tom Ur said.

"We have established a common understanding, a common language, contacts for assistance especially in times of trouble -- meaning when the country is faced by natural disasters like tsunami, or volcanic eruptions and other emergencies that need overseas help we know and have all the country contacts to go to. And that is something our country should be proud of.

"Not only that, we have established an understanding for support in terms of illegal fishing on PNG’s shores and other sensitive assistance -- we cannot mention -- that all these high-powered countries have offered."

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

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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