PNG Delegation Makes Visit To Indonesia Border Station

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Officials hope to address needs of PNG citizens along border

By Paeope Ovasuru

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, March 6, 2013) – Collective efforts from all key government agencies are needed to address issues along the southern border of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia in the Western province.

The land border stretches for 82 kilometers, but has been lacking vital basic infrastructure and services for almost 38 years.

Over the weekend, a government delegation led by Ian Jinga, director general of National Security Advisory Committee Secretariat, went to visit the border post at Weam government station, Torassi and Bula.

The delegation consisted of the acting Foreign Affairs secretary, Ambassador Lucy Bogari, Finance secretary Steven Gibson, Lands and Physical Planning secretary Romilly Kila Pat, Environment and Conservation secretary Gunther Joku, Provinicial Affairs secretary Munare Uyassi, Border Development Authority chief executive officer Fred Konga, Deputy Commissioner Police Operations Simon Kauba and PNG Defence Force Chief of Operations Colonel Walter Enuma.

They were accompanied by the deputy provincial administrator for Western province, Gull Gorgom.

The team was sent to assess the needs of the people and to come up with an immediate, medium and long term strategy to present to the national government. This directive was given by Prime Minister Mr. Peter O’Neill and the National Executive Council (NEC) after assessments by the PNGDF along the border found that there was a jetty that was built in PNG’s land boundary by Indonesia and other issues that needed to be addressed immediately.

[PIR editor’s note: Government coordinator Richard Aria reports that monuments marking the border have deteriorated due to lack of maintenance. The monuments helped to mark the border, but as some deteriorated, Indonesia allegedly built new sign boards and flags on PNG soil. Locals near the border have also reportedly been using the Indonesian rupiah in village matters, since nearby PNG settlements are much farther away than Indonesian villages.]

"The two day fact-finding mission presented an opportunity for the departmental heads to see what really happened on the ground and to make recommendations to the government that will help it to take a proactive decision on the issue," explained Ambassador Bogari.

She added that the group’s main areas of concern were to establish the immediate needs of the people and to provide a proactive and informed recommendation to the government.

"The national government’s intervention is to assess issues affecting government stations and the people along the southern part of the border and report back to the Chief Secretary.

"Mr. Zurenuoc will then present this report to the National Executive Council for consideration and deliberation," Mr. Jinga said.

He said this is the first time for senior government officials to actually go over and gather views of our people living along the PNG-Indonesian border.

"As announced by the PM, this year is the ‘year of implementation’ and the Chief Secretary is very serious about it."

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