by Fabian Hakalits – EM TV, Port Moresby
The Papua New Guinea National Government has banned Australians traveling to the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
The statement comes on the first day of the Australia-PNG Business Forum in Lae, Morobe Province.
National Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister, Rimbink Pato, imposed the ban following Australia’s announcement of plans to open its mission in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
In a media statement, released this afternoon, the National Minister instructed the Chief Migration Officer to impose the ban with immediate effect.
Notification will be sent to all PNG Overseas Mission, Posts and domestic carriers.
Minister Pato clarified, Australians residing in Bougainville on work and permanent resident visa will not be affected.
But the ban only applies to all Australian passport holders, intending to visit Bougainville on tourist, business and other short-term entry visas.
All Diplomats and Foreign Government Officials wishing to visit Bougainville must seek clearance from the Foreign Affairs Department.
Clearance notes will be issued to the carrier, to uplift the named officials.
The ban will also be imposed on any foreigner who applies for a visa at any PNG Overseas Mission and Post to visit Bougainville.
PNG Migration, Customs and Police Officers on duty at all PNG ports of entry and provincial airports will monitor the ban and report any non-compliance to the Chief Migration Officer.
In the meantime, National Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister, Rimbink Pato is out of the country and couldn’t comment.