Govt gets tough on border issues

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday, May 18, 2011

THE Government will be taking steps to address illegal activities along the Papua New Guinea-Indonesia border, Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Don Polye says.
He gave the reassurance when responding to Telefomin MP Peter Iwei during debate in Parliament last Friday.
Iwei asked if the government could establish a permanent border surveillance post to deter the issues of border incursion, illegal trade of guns and drugs and other illegal activities by Indonesian soldiers and citizens.
He said with his electorate sharing the border with Indonesia, he knew of “rampant illegal trade of guns and pornographic material, drugs exchange and human trafficking”.
He said Indonesian soldiers made regular intrusions into PNG.
In response, Polye said the government would address the concern as it was a serious matter.
He said an investigation team from his department would go into the border areas to get first-hand information before it was discussed at a ministerial level through the established bilateral relationships.
He said the issue was not new on the floor of parliament and an internal administrative process would have to take place before discussing it during border talks later in the year with his counterpart in Indonesia.
Polye said in the long-term, military barracks in towns and cities borders would have to be removed.
He said there was no need for soldiers to be stationed in towns and cities as their primarily role was to protect the integrity and sovereignty of the country.
He said the Border Development Authority “will have to construct border posts along international borders so that soldiers will be based there”.