AUSTRALIA TO PROVIDE $690 MILLION AID PACKAGE TO PNG

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MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, June 11) - Papua New Guinea and Australia have reached agreement on a new $US690 million aid package.

The package, known as the Enhanced Co-operation Program, will see up to 300 Australian police and public servants deployed to PNG to take up operational jobs, aimed at boosting law and order and good governance.

Our correspondent in PNG, Shane McLeod, says the document will go to cabinet next week for consideration.

After months of negotiations, mostly on the issue of legal privilege, officials from the two countries have agreed on the text of a joint treaty, which will allow for the implementation of the plan.

PNG's top public servant, Joshua Kalinoe, says the proposed treaty will now be considered by both countrys' cabinets, and he is optimistic the document and enabling legislation will be put to PNG's parliament later this month.

The agreement comes amid a deteriorating law and order situation in the PNG capital, Port Moresby, which led Australia to upgrade its warning for travellers earlier this week.

June 16, 2004

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

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