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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (August 8, 2002 - Post-Courier/PINA Nius Online)---Papua New Guinea should give more priority to border-related issues, particularly with Indonesia, the country's newly elected parliamentarians were told yesterday.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Evoa Lalatute made the comments while giving an overview of the country’s foreign policy to MPs attending a two-day induction course organized by Parliamentary Services.

Mr. Lalatute said that for the sake of internal security, Papua New Guinea needed to place more emphasis on border-related issues.

This is particularly true with Indonesia, he said, where both nations share an 800-kilometer (480-mile) land border.

In the neighboring Indonesian province of Papua there is a growing independence movement.

Mr. Lalatute was specifically concerned with incidents in Merauke and Ambon in Indonesia and their possible spillover effects on the on-going Papua issue.

He indicated that the world’s newest country, East Timor, would be sending a delegation to visit PNG in December.

East Timor- - which was occupied by Indonesia for 24 years -- wants to learn about PNG’s colonial experiences and the post-independence era as well as some of the key legislation put in place -- such as that governing mining and petroleum.

Meanwhile, the Ombudsman Commission warned the MPs that they no longer had a private life and that the destiny of the nation depended on their conduct.

Ombudsman Peter Masi told the MPs, with five of those re-elected facing leadership tribunal hearings on allegations of misusing funds, that Section 27 of the Constitution imposes a duty on leaders.

He said: "This duty is to conduct himself in such a way -- both in public or official life and his private life and in associations with other persons -- as not to place himself in a position in which he has or could have a conflict of interest or might be comprised when discharging his public or official duties."

He said that being an MP was the highest duty in the land.

Because of the responsibilities and obligations that go with that as well as the power and authority, an MP’s conduct must be of "very high standard," he said.

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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