Defence meeting in PNG

National, Normal

The National, Thursday 16th May 2013

 PAPUA New Guinea will host the South Pacific defence ministers’ meeting next year.

This was decided at the inaugural meeting in Nuku’alofa, Tonga, on May 1-2.

PNG was represented by Defence Minister Dr Fabian Pok and commander Brig-Gen Francis Agwi.

The theme of the inaugural meeting was “enhancing regional security cooperation”.

Discussions focused on  improving  security  cooperation  and  interoperability  among  South  Pacific defence forces  through   information-sharing,  combined   exercises,   common   approaches and maritime security  cooperation.  

Pok said: “It is in our national interest that we strengthen our relations with our partner defence forces. The inaugural meeting was a tremendous success.

“The communique  presents  initiatives  that  will  enhance  security cooperation in our region, and the proposal to host the 2014 meeting in PNG presents an ideal opportunity  for  us to further strengthen  our  regional  security  architecture.  

“I will be submitting proposals to the National Executive Council for PNG to host the meeting in 2014.” 

Delegates to the Tongan meeting included Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith, Australian parliamentary secretary for  defence  David  Feeney, chief  of  the  Australian  Defence  Force Gen David Hurley, New Zealand Defence Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman, chief of the New Zealand  Defence Force Gen Rhys Jones, French Ambassador  to  Tonga  Gilles  Montagnier;  commander  of  the  French  armed forces in  New  Caledonia  Brig-Gen  Jean-Francois Parlanti,  Chile’s   vice-minister  for  defence  Oscar  Izurieta and  Chile’s armed  forces chief Air  Marshal Roland Mercado.