by Delly Waigeno – EMTV News, Port Moresby
Papua New Guinea and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) have signed an amended Treaty Concerning Maritime Boundaries and Cooperation on Related Matters.
The PNG/FSM Maritime Border Agreement was originally signed in 1991 after a joint field survey conducted by joint technical teams from both countries.
However, there were certain errors identified in the Annex to the Treaty.
Those errors were rectified yesterday with the signing of the Treaty on Maritime Boundaries.
Both the Prime Minister of PNG, Peter O’Neill, and the President of the Federated States of Micronesia, Peter Christian, expressed eagerness to work together following the signing of the Treaty.
Mr O’Neill said the rectification of the bilateral Treaty will further enhance joint fisheries cooperation between both countries.
“I thank the work done by our officials on both sides since 2008 in reviewing and finalising the baseline coordinates and maritime zones.
“It is also important to acknowledge the technical assistance provided by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community in this project,” Mr O’Neill said.
Technology available at the time of the treaty was limited and there was lack of access to data such as satellite imagery and coastal data techniques.
There was no illustrative map of the boundary line found in the original Treaty.
Papua New Guinea undertook a comprehensive review of its baseline coordinates and maritime zones from 2008 – 2011 covered under the new Maritime Zones Act 2015, which impacted on the treaty.
One change agreed to was the intersection line of PNG’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) with FSM’s EEZ.
President Christian thanked those involved with all the technical assistance.
Mr O’Neill said this development will widen the scope of the formal bilateral relations between PNG and FSM as both countries work towards “strengthening connections to enhance Pacific regionalism.”