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Australia and PNG formalise cooperation.



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MEDIA RELEASE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALEXANDER DOWNER FA121 12 August 2004

AUSTRALIA AND PNG FORMALISE COOPERATION

Australia and Papua New Guinea today will formalise a new era in our long history of close cooperation.

At our meeting in Canberra, I will thank Papua New Guinea’s Foreign Minister, Sir Rabbie Namaliu, for his efforts over the past year in securing agreement on the Enhanced Cooperation Program (ECP) and the necessary legal arrangements.

We will exchange diplomatic notes to formally recognise the commencement of the program.

Under the ECP, Australian police, judicial experts and senior officials will work side by side with their PNG colleagues, helping to address issues of law and order, justice, economic and financial management, border control and transport security.

The next group of ten Australian officials to take up positions in the PNG bureaucracy will arrive in Port Moresby next Monday. They will work in senior positions in the PNG Departments of Treasury, Finance, Justice and Attorney General, Personnel Management and the Internal Revenue Commission.

The first eight ECP officials have been in place in Port Moresby since February.

The first Australian police will arrive on the island of Bougainville in early September.

We expect that most of the, approximately, 200 members of the Australian Federal Police and 64 officials to be deployed under the ECP will be in place by March 2005.

Sir Rabbie Namaliu and I will hold a press conference at 16:00 on Thursday 12 August in room MG63, Parliament House.

We will exchange diplomatic notes advising that constitutional formalities for the entry into force of the Agreement between Australia and PNG on the Enhanced Cooperation Program have been completed.

Media inquiries: Chris Kenny (Ministerial) 02 6277 7500 Justin Lee (DFAT) 02 6261 1555

Media releases and speeches are available from DFAT via the internet. http://www.dfat.gov.au/