PNG’s regional rise praised

National, Normal

The National, Friday August 2nd, 2013

 PAPUA New Guinea has emerged as a bigger player in the region and on the global stage, Environment Minister John Pundari says.

And he has attributed this to the leadership of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

“In the past two years, we have rubbed shoulders and done business with big nations such as USA , China, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia, Australia, South Korea and many more,” Pundari said in a statement yesterday.

“We have gained prominence and wider recognition, not only in international bodies such as the Commonwealth, Asean, European Union and APEC, but have proved our leadership in our Melanesian community and the greater Pacific region. 

“We have become donors now to our neighbours in the Pacific.

“PNG is no longer viewed as a small, insignificant underdeveloped island nation but has emerged as a bigger player in our region and the global stage,” he said. 

“This has all come about because we have the leadership that has been lacking in the past; the leadership that is not afraid to make tough and crucial decisions not only for the benefit of our country but for the good relations, wellbeing, security and prosperity for our neighbouring countries. 

“I applaud our Prime Minister Peter O’Neill for standing up and rising to  the  challenge when  our important and closest neighbour seeks our support to address a challenging issue such as the asylum seekers.

“Australia has been a friend indeed in times incalculable, why should not we lend a helping hand on an issue which has been a thorn in their side for the past decade. 

“Isn’t this the foundation of our great Melanesian culture and the principle of our Christian faith of which this country’s Constitution is founded on? 

“How can we shy away when our big brother is hurting and seeking out our help?

“O’Neill  must be  commended rather than challenged for the courageous and  bold stand he took to demonstrate to our Pacific family of countries that the Australian problem must not  be  seen as only  Australia’s  problem but  rather as a regional problem needing our concerted effort  to find a solution.

“Therefore, we all should feel obligated to support the issue before our regional welfare and security is compromised,” Pundari said.