CAPTION: PM Bainimarama is greeted by PNG PM, Peter O’Neill
The Prime Minister of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea has called for stronger relations to be established with its Melanesian neighbour, Fiji.
Hosting his Fiji counterpart to a state dinner last night, PNG’s Prime Minister Honourable Peter O’Neill said that more efforts needed to be put in place to strengthen current relations.
Prime Minister O’Neill is hosting the Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama on his state visit to PNG. In his address at the state dinner last night, Prime Minister O’Neill pointed out the need for senior officials from both sides to meet regularly.
“Of course we are two big brothers in the region and it is important that we continue to maintain these relations through more cooperative arrangements so that we can continue to consolidate, diversify and strengthen our relations between the two countries”, Prime Minister O’Neill said.
“Our government is keen on exploring the opportunity to establish a bi-annual senior officials meeting to enable our officials to have regular contacts and consultations with a view to formalising relations in the key sectors”.
In his response, Prime Minister Bainimarama agreed that more opportunities exist to strengthen current relations.
“We have already developed close trade and investment ties but there is room to do much more. Which is why I am leading the first ever official Fijian trade delegation to Papua New Guinea and the biggest delegation Fiji has sent to any country”.
“We are the leading nations in Melanesia and the wider region -you with your large market and immense mineral and energy resources, Fiji with its manufacturing sector and, skilled and educated workforce at the crossroads of the Pacific”.
Prime Minister Bainimarama highlighted that despite the need to strengthen relations to stimulate growth for both countries, opportunities needed to be created within the region.
“Enhancing our own trade and investment links will not only benefit our economies but the economies of our smaller island neighbours”, PM Bainimarama said.