By ISAAC NICHOLAS
INDONESIA and PNG have held very fruitful discussions that will enhance benefits and friendship between the two countries.
The two countries last Friday signed three agreements on military and police cooperation, double taxation and notes on agriculture cooperationafter bilateral meetings .
Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare and president Dr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono also signed two plagues that will be placed at the Wutung border.
Defence Minister Bob Dadae and his Indonesian counterpart Pur Nomo Yusgintoro signed the MoU on defence cooperation agreement, Agriculture Ministers John Hickey and his counterpart Mr Soswono signed the notes on agriculture cooperation and Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Abal and his counterpart, Marty Natalegawa, signed the MoU on double taxation agreements.
PNG ministers who attended the bilateral meetings included National Planning Minister Paul Tiensten and Internal Security Minister Sani Rambi.
Dr Yudhoyono and Sir Michael then held a joint media conference where the two leaders said the talks were successful.
“I have really enjoyed meeting your Prime Minister where we held talks on bilateral and multi-lateral issues that will enhance benefits and friendship between the two countries.
“It has been a very productive discussion on issues of police security cooperation, continued border cooperation and greater defence and police cooperation,” the president said.
He said on the economic front, both countries discussed enhanced cooperation on trade agreements through markets and small to medium enterprises.
On social welfare, Dr Yudhoyono said both countries agreed for assistance in health, education, people to people exchange and cultural exchange.
He said other areas of discussion included climate change, double taxation, joint border operations and trade along the border.
The Indonesian president wasted no time in calling for the joint PNG-Indonesian ministerial meeting that would bring some of the discussions to fruition.
Sir Michael said it was wonderful to have the Indonesian president in the country where there were fruitful discussions and MoU signings.
He said PNG and Indonesia shared the same common land and sea border and it was important to establish this type of relations to run both countries.
“We are now bringing our people closer together as neighbours and we can now deal with them,” he said.