UAE delegation on a mission

National, Normal

A DELEGATION from one the world’s richest nations, the United Arab Emirates, is here for bilateral talks with the Government.
The 20-member UAE delegation and 11 crew members arrived on a private jet at Jackson International Airport yesterday as part of a regional visit.
It is expected to announce a regional package for South Pacific Island countries today.
The team is led by UAE foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
They are visiting Samoa, New Zealand, Fiji, Australia, Solomon Islands, Niue and PNG to hold discussions with the respective governments on how to improve bilateral relations.
“They are selling the regional package of bilateral relations to all Pacific Island countries,” Department of Foreign Affairs chief of protocol John Yamin said yesterday.
The delegation will today pay a courtesy call on Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane and then hold talks with Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Abal and Public Enterprises Minister Arthur Somare.
PNG is the only Pacific country that already has a close association with the UAE with seven pilots and three stewardesses flying with Emirates Airlines, their national flag carrier.
The visit is also a follow-up to the International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC) bond financing for the PNG Government’s 19.6% equity stake in the PNG LNG project.
IPIC is owned by the government of Abu Dhabi, which is an emirate of the UAE.
This is the first time Papua New Guinea has hosted a visit by a senior UAE minister.