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The Prime Minister James Marape has released a statement confirming his counterpart, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s visit to the country next week.

“We look forward to the visit of Australian Prime Minister Albanese to PNG,” Marape said.

The initial visit was supposed to be on December last year however Prime Minister Albanese was tested positive with Covid 19 and was isolated so it is deferred to this year.

PM Albanese will make an official two day visit to PNG on January 12 to 13 to attend the annual leaders dialogue in Port Moresby with Prime Minister Marape.

“I have spent time with my good friend, Prime Minister Albanese, on several occasions last year, including in Australia at the Prime Minister’s XIII Rugby League match.” Marape said.

“For Prime Minister Albanese to start the New Year with a visit to Papua New Guinea reinforces the strong bond between our two countries.”

“Australia and Papua New Guinea have a long history and this visit will strengthen our shared vision for the future.”

“Australia is a very-important foundation bilateral partner of PNG, in as far as nation-to-nation relations are concerned.”

This will be the first visit for Australian Prime Minister to PNG since Marape became Prime Minister.

“This will be the first visit by an Australian Prime Minister to PNG since my ascension to the Office of Prime Minister on May 30, 2019.” Marape said.

After the leaders dialogue in Port Moresby, both Prime Ministers will be travelling to Wewak to visit the founding father late Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare’s resting place.

“Prime Minister Albanese has also indicated that he will be travelling all the way to Wewak to lay a wreath on the tomb of the late Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare.” PM Marape said.

Prime Minister Marape assured the people of PNG that preparations are well underway to receive his counterpart.

“Our Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon. Justin Tkatchenko, is organizing the programme and we are full prepared for the visit by Prime Minister Albanese,” PM said.

“Part of the programme will include Prime Minister Albanese addressing our National Parliament, which we are offering as a mark of respect to the Australian leader, as PNG marches towards our 50th anniversary of Independence.”

 “It is also special in that at the time of Independence in 1975, the Australian Labor Party led by the late Gough Whitlam was in Government in Australia, while the Pangu Pati led by the late Sir Michael Somare was in Government in PNG.”

“It is only befitting that the leader of the Australian Labor Party, which granted Independence to PNG in 1975 through then leader Gough Whitlam, be given this honour of addressing our National Parliament.” Prime Minister Marape said.

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