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Australia-Papua New Guinea sign MOU on illegal movements in the Torres Strait

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M9 9 February 1994


Australia and Papua New Guinea today signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the Illegal Movement of People through the Torres Strait.

The MOU was signed for Australia by the Minister for Foreign Affaire, Senator Gareth Fvans- during his call on the visiting Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Paias Wingti. Titus Philemon, PNG Vice-Foreign Minister, signed the MOU for Papua New Guinea.

"The MOU will improve co-operation in the handling of third country nationals illegally attempting to enter either Australia or Papua New Guinea via the Torres Strait," Senator Evans said.

Australia and Papua New Guinea commit themselves under the MOU to

• screen carefully visa applications from third country nationals

• cancel entry permits for, or expel, third country nationals who attempt to procure support for the illegal crossing of the Torres Strait

• establish closer links between visa issuing posts outside Australia and Papua New Guinea

• accept the return of illegal third country nationals who exit Australia or Papua New Guinea via the Torres Strait without having met appropriate visa entry requirements

• improve the exchange of information between immigration authorities

• hold regular bilateral discussions between respective immigration authorities.

Senator Evans said that co-operation in the Torres Strait formed an important part of Australia's bilateral relationship with Papua New Guinea

"I welcome the signing of this MOU as a further strengthening of the commitment of both governments to co-operation in this important area," he said.