9 Sep 2003

PNG Foreign Minister warns Australia in the continuing spat over aid

3:42 pm on 9 September 2003

Papua New Guinea's Foreign Minister has warned Australia that it cannot take over the running of his country as it is currently doing in Solomon Islands.

Sir Rabbie Namaliu says the economic situation in PNG is different from that in Solomon Islands.

Australia is reported to be seeking to insert its own public servants into PNG's government departments to monitor the spending of aid funds.

This comes amid accusations by Australia of PNG mismanaging its aid funds of 200 million dollars.

Sir Rabbie says PNG is open to talks with Australia on the kind of assistance his country needs and the concerns of Canberra.

But he says PNG wants talks with Australia under their Development Cooperation Treaty which determines how aid is used.

"Australia because of its experience in the Solomon Islands obviously wants to continue to wield a big stick around the place and think that they can wield the same stick in Papua New Guinea in the same way that it's being done in Solomon Islands. They want to change the parameters, they want to change the playing field and they want introduce a new set of rules,..... that's all very well you know we're prepared to review the arrangements, for Christ's sake we have a development treaty in place, let's utilize it."

Sir Rabbie Namaliu