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By Anton Huafolo

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, July 4) – A three-day bilateral meeting between senior Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands government officials began yesterday in the Solomon Islands capital Honiara.

PNG Foreign Minister Sir Rabbie Namaliu said the PNG's delegation to the 5th Senior Officials (consultative) meeting, led by PNG's Deputy Foreign Secretary (Policy) Tarcy Eri, met with the Solomons Islands delegation, led by senior Solomon Islands Foreign Affairs Department officials yesterday.

According to Sir Rabbie, this is the fifth of such meetings-the fourth held in Port Moresby last March from 2-3 last year, and "earlier meetings were held in Port Moresby in 1993 and 1999, respectively, and in Honiara in September 2003".

The 5th Senior Officials meeting will focus on:

"Parliament has ratified the Framework Treaty Guiding Relations between the two countries signed by the two Prime Ministers in July 2004 in Port Moresby," Sir Rabbie said.

Sir Rabbie also outlined that Parliament has also ratified the Agreement Concerning the Administration of Special Areas between PNG and the Solomon Islands and The Basic Agreement on Border Arrangements-both signed by him and his Solomon Islands counterpart in Port Moresby in March and July.

Other bilateral cooperation agreements concluded include the Development Cooperation Agreement and a Memorandum of Understanding on Judicial Assistance, both signed in March this year.

Sir Rabbie will travel to the Solomon Islands in the latter part of the year for the signing of the Development Cooperation Agreement and the groundbreaking ceremony of the construction of a new PNG Chancery in Honiara.

July 5, 2005

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