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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Mar. 1) – Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands will finalize several treaties and agreements at a two-day meeting of senior officials due to start in Port Moresby tomorrow.

Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Rabbie Namaliu said in a statement last night that earlier discussions on border arrangements and signing of a basic border agreement between the Melanesian neighbors in July 1997 had not been enforced because the Solomon Islands Government has yet to ratify the treaty.

Sir Rabbie said that on Feb 25, the Cabinet approved recommendations to ratify the treaties and arrangements relating to the management of the common border area.

The other agreements to be discussed include a framework treaty guiding relations between the two countries and its subsidiary arrangements, a boundary delimitation treaty, a memorandum of understanding on joint surveillance, technical cooperation between the two countries, political and security issues and well as other regional and international issues of common interest.

Sir Rabbie also said the Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare has decided to honour the commitment made by the previous Skate Government in 1997 to provide financial assistance to the Solomon Islands. In this regard, an amount of K600,000 was given to Honiara last week to meet the cost of Solomon Island students studying in PNG. 

The March 2-3 talks will be followed by a visit to Port Moresby the Solomons Foreign Affairs Minister, Laurie Chan, on Friday for follow-up discussions.

March 1, 2004

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