PAPUA NEW GUINEA ROLLS OUT RED CARPET FOR RUDD

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Colorful banners to welcome the Australian Prime Minister

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, March 6, 2008) - Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will receive red carpet treatment when he arrives in Port Moresby this morning.

Mr. Rudd, who has visited the country and walked the Kokoda Track three years ago, is arriving for the first time as the new Australian Prime Minister.

The colorful reception includes huge banners with his picture and traditional dancers from the four regions of the country.

Rudd arrives at the Jackson’s International Airport on an Australian Defence Force jet accompanied by a 20-member delegation. The delegation will be welcomed by both leaders including the Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, ministers and the singsing groups.

A similar reception is planned for Rudd and his delegation when he visits the Highlands town of Goroka tomorrow where he will visit two Australia-funded projects.

He will meet his counterpart, Sir Michael today after making a courtesy call on the Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane at Government House. He will also meet with the Opposition Leader Sir Mekere Morauta and his deputy Bart Philemon.

The Prime Minister who is here for a three-day tour, will visit Bomana War Memorial and lay a wreath before returning to the hotel awaiting the dinner at Parliament House hosted by Sir Michael.

Rudd is visiting on an invitation by Sir Michael at the Bali climate change forum late last year. He was then newly appointed Prime Minister after defeating John Howard.

His visit is expected to boost bilateral relations between the two countries which had been on a sour note before he became the Prime Minister.

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