Australia keen to assist debt refinancing pursuit
Papua New Guinea’s efforts to refinance its debt will be key to the discussions of the upcoming Australia-PNG Ministerial Forum to be held in Port Moresby on August 26.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister James Marape described reports that his government would use Chinese financing of the country’s entire debt as wrong, but didn’t rule out the approach for what he said were “bad and expensive loans secured by the previous government”.
Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Alex Hawke, made reference to this when asked by the Post-Courier regarding Marape’s intentions to offset some the country’s current debts.
Mr Hawke was asked to comment following the PM’s recent state visit to Australia and the indications of a renewed and vastly improved relationship with Canberra going forward.
“Well Australia welcomes the increase in our bilateral relationship, the step up of our own relationship between Papua New Guinea and Australia.” Mr Hawke said. “In just a few weeks (August 26) we will be in Port Moresby for ministerial forums where we will be discussing all of the issues relevant to Papua New Guinea and Australia, and the things relevant to us.
“The Marape government has already signalled to Australia the importance of our relationship by coming to Australia, by bringing a big ministerial delegation, and we will be taking a very senior delegation to Moresby to discuss the exact issues that you are talking about and Australia is open to assist in any way that PNG needs.”
He said discussions will be around finance, the budget, health, education, agriculture, and the priorities of the Marape government going forward for the rest of its term.
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