O’Neill: PNG, Fiji are friends

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill is traditionally welcomed by the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama at the GPH in Suva yesterday. Picture: RAMA

FIJI and Papua New Guinea (PNG) are friends, family and Melanesian brothers.

This was the comment made by PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill who arrived into the country yesterday for his first official visit since taking office in 2012.

“We are great friends, we are a family and it is a great honour for our country to be here today (yesterday) on this important occasion on this official visit to your country.”

Upon his arrival at the Nausori International Airport yesterday afternoon, Mr O’Neill was accorded a State welcome with a 50-man guard of honour followed by a traditional welcome at Suva’s Grand Pacific Hotel.

“My greatest appreciation for this traditional welcome that has been extended to me and my delegation,” Mr O’Neill said.

The two-day official visit will see the PNG PM address the Fijian Parliament today on the progress of preparations by his government for the hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Port Moresby in November this year.

Mr O’Neill will also be the keynote speaker at a public lecture hosted by the University of the South Pacific at its Japan-Pacific ICT Multipurpose Theatre today on the topic “Pacific Regionalism”.

Other programs for the leader’s visit include a visit to the Fiji Police Force Special Response Unit to showcase the anti-riot capability of the Fiji Police Force and a lunch hosted by the Fiji-PNG Business Council.

Mr O’Neill will depart tomorrow afternoon for Brisbane before returning to Papua New Guinea.

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