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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, June 30) - Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has signed an agreement allowing about 300 Australian police, lawyers and public servants into Papua New Guinea.

Mr Downer signed the treaty with his PNG counterpart, Sir Rabbie Namaliu during a visit to Port Moresby yesterday.

The agreement will also see Australia give more than US$500 million extra aid to PNG under the so-called Enhanced Cooperation Program.

But it could be a while before the full program is implemented.

Both foreign ministers now have to take these signed treaties back to their respective parliaments for ratification."

Foreign Affairs minister Sir Rabbie Namaliu indicated that he would like to be able to present the treaty for ratification in parliament, which is currently in session, but that’s going to be most likely clouded by moves for the introduction of a motion of no-confidence against the government.

The government’s pretty confident it would be able to weather that one down; but that remains to be seen."

So it’s most likely going to be around September before we see the first lot of people come through, although there have been some preliminary officials involved in the economic and the public sector, coming through.

July 1, 2004

Radio New Zealand International:

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