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By Malinta Yopolo

PNG Foreign Affairs Minister Justin Tkatchenko and New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters have agreed to have annual meetings and consultations at the ministerial levels following a bilateral meet held between delegations of both countries yesterday.

This is an addition to the annual Foreign Affairs Secretary Meeting also known as the high level consultation which will ensure progressive cooperative arrangements agreed upon are actually implemented.

Minister Tkatchenko noted that the PNG-New Zealand Statement of Partnership that covers a broad spectrum of initiatives and program collaborations in areas of mutual interests will be reviewed.

Other talks of the bilateral centred on defence, trade and investments and Recognized Seasonal Employer.

“We will work together on this to increase the number of Papua New Guineans going to New Zealand. We also intend to assist recruit specialized RSE liaison officers and have them based in our PNG High Commission in New Zealand.”

“This will help us assist and guide New Zealand through better processes for the benefit of our citizens seeking these opportunities and for entities through the government who seek seasonal workers.” Mr. Tkatchenko said.

The minister further noted the electrification program, signed in 2018 between Papua New Guinea, Australia, Japan and the United States to light up 70 per cent of Papua New Guinea by 2030 needs more work to progress this arrangement.

Other areas of discussion included Education arrangement opportunities, aligned to Papua New Guineas objective of attaining development aspirations through capacity building at the tertiary level and technical training institutions.

Minister Peters said New Zealand is committed to working closely with Papua New Guinea and other Pacific Partners to address the shared issues in the region.

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