PNG recalls Honiara envoy

National, Normal

FOREIGN Affairs Minister Sam Abal has announced the immediate recall of Aiwa Olmi, the PNG High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands.
The minister said in a statement yesterday that the recall of the High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu following reports of misconduct in office had caused undue strain on the relations between PNG and the Solomon Islands.
“The Prime Minister and I have agreed to recall the High Commissioner and the secretary for Foreign Affairs has been instructed to prepare the necessary papers to effect the decision,” Mr Abal said.
“Behaviour of ambassadors and high commissioners should be of very high standard and their conduct should be impeccable and the Government and people of Papua New Guinea will accept nothing less.
“I should also mention that since Independence, heads of PNG missions and posts, including diplomats and consular officers, have done extremely well in promoting and representing our Government and people. I think they have achieved a great deal for our country.”
Mr Abal also reaffirmed his previous statement that he would be recommending to the Prime Minister and Cabinet to appoint a female high commissioner.
PNG has had female heads of missions and posts in the past, including Jean Kekedo, present High Commissioner to United Kingdom, Dame Meg Taylor, Ambassador to Washington, Ambassador Lucy Bogari, former High Commissioner to New Zealand and Ambassador to South Korea and present deputy secretary of the department.
“Therefore, the appointment of a female high commissioner to the Solomon Islands is not a new undertaking but in further fulfilment of the gender balance.”
Meanwhile, Mr Abal also refuted media reports that a police officer has been appointed deputy head of mission at the PNG embassy in Beijing, China.
“This is not correct – apart from the appointment of heads of missions and posts – all other appointments in diplomatic and consular posts are sanction by the secretary for Foreign Affairs and Trade.”
He said Beijing was an important post and PNG had to place professional officers to manage the relations between PNG and China.
“Agreements have been reached between the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and other government departments and agencies including police to assign officers (non-diplomatic) to overseas missions and posts.
“They will be duly accredited with the host Government and form part and parcel of the missions/post for the performance of their appointed functions, while the diplomatic and consular functions will be restricted to foreign service officials,” Mr Abal said.