Red carpet rolled out for PM

Main Stories, National

The National, Friday 10th May 2013

 PRIME Minister Julia Gillard of Australia was welcomed in style in her first visit to Papua New Guinea yesterday.

The red carpet was laid out for Gillard as soon as her Royal Australian Air Force 1 VIP B737 aircraft touched down at Jackson Airport just after 3.40pm.

PNG chief of protocol Jimmy Ovia and Australian High Commissioner Deborah Stokes boarded the aircraft and invited Gillard to disembark.

She was greeted with a 19-gun salute and presented a bouquet of flowers by a schoolgirl.

Ovia then introduced her to the VIPs, which included Deputy Prime Minister Leo Dion, Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Rimbink Pato, National Events, Sports, and Pacific Games Minister Justin Tkatchenko, Chief Secretary Manasupe Zurenuoc, acting secretary for Foreign Affairs William Dihm and PNG High Commissioner to Australia Charles Lepani.

Gillard proceeded to the PNG Defence Force parade at the ceremonial car park, pausing briefly en route to view a Huli wigmen singsing troupe from Hela.

Ovia then introduced PNG Defence Force commander Brig-Gen Francis Agwi to Gillard. She was invited to the dais and was received by a PNGDF guard-of-honour parade.

Gillard later attended a state dinner at Parliament House, hosted by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.