PNG PM O’Neill Congratulates Tony Abbott On Election Win

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PNG PM O’Neill Congratulates Tony Abbott On Election Win Commits to further enhancing relations with new government

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Sept. 8, 2013) – Australia's neighbours have started responding to the election victory by Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott.

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has written to Tony Abbott to congratulate him on the Coalition's election victory.

In a letter addressed to "Prime Minister-elect Abbott", Mr O'Neill passed on sincere congratulations on behalf of his government and the people of PNG.

He assured Mr Abbott his government is committed to working closely to further enhance relations between the two countries.

Mr O'Neill ended his letter by suggesting a possible meeting on the sidelines of the APEC Leaders Meeting in Bali next month.

The two men have met twice over the last two years during Mr O'Neill's official visits to Australia.

The PNG government will no doubt be eager to hear what, if any changes the Coalition will make to the former Rudd government's so-called Pacific Solution to send asylum seekers to Manus Island

Under a deal signed by Mr O'Neill and Kevin Rudd, Australia is sending asylum seekers who arrive by boat to Papua New Guinea for processing and resettlement.

Only days before the election, Mr Abbott announced his Coalition would significantly cut foreign aid.

The New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, says he looks forward to working with Tony Abbott to build on the close and unique relationship between the trans-Tasman neighbours.

Mr Key says the bilateral relationship with Australia is the most important one for New Zealand and the two leaders will have several opportunities to meet over the next few months.

He also thanked outgoing Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his predecessor Julia Gillard.

Pacific news sites have carried virtually no coverage of the Australian election result, but most organisations have limited operations over the weekend.

Mr Abbott's victory has barely rated a mention on Fiji's main news websites, however carries an article which suggests Fiji can expect foreign policy changes with Tony Abbott as Prime Minister.

In Papua New Guinea, the papers are not likely to carry the Australian election story in detail until Monday.

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