PNG Considering Joint Projects With Indonesia At Border

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Leaders discuss infrastructure, resource development

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nov. 15, 2012) – Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister says his government is considering a number of joint projects with Indonesia along their common border.

Peter O’Neill this week held talks in Bali with Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

The leaders agreed to increase bilateral trade and investment and to consider joint projects, including utilizing Indonesian expertise and technology to develop gas reserves in PNG’s Gulf of Papua.

Mr. O’Neill confirms PNG is also looking at engaging Indonesian companies to build roads in PNG, and at buying power from a hydro-power station being built in Indonesia near the border.

"That was mooted by both the President and myself – that we should look at opportunities of improving economic activities along the border area so that the standard of living for people living in the border areas can be improved at the same time."

[PIR editor’s note: O'Neill has also dismissed reports that Indonesian military activity has increased near the two countries' common border. O'Neill added that President Yudhoyono said Indonesia was actually withdrawing military forces in order to allow for economic development in West Papua.]

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