PAPUA New Guinea will be sending defence force soldiers and police officers for specialist military training in Israel in preparation for the 2018 APEC Summit in Port Moresby.
PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, who is on a three-day official state visit to Israel, announced this during a media briefing in Jerusalem after visiting specialist Israeli aerospace and military facilities.
“We are going to send some people over, especially instructors from Bomana police college, Goldie River training depot and Igam Barracks, and also from the police special protection units, to upgrade their skills to provide better protection of leaders who will visit us,” Mr O’Neill said.
The Prime Minister said some of them will be travelling to Israel on short term courses starting as early as next month.
He said most of the courses will be short term – over one or two months – and will be rolled out over the next four to five years at the Israeli specialist military academy.
“Papua New Guinea will meet the cost of the short training courses and will ask Israel for assistance if PNG falls short on funding,” he said.
Mr O’Neill said PNG has the money to build capacity in some of the institutions like police, the defence force and other State institutions but money has been misused in the past.
“Last year, police and defence force were allocated money above what the two discipline forces asked for,” he said.
Mr O’Neill also said that the Defence Co-operation Agreement which will be signed between PNG and Israel would also allow PNG to buy more equipment from the Israeli Defence Force and also for Israel to provide technical assistance that includes training.
The Defence Agreement which was supposed to be signed between Defence Minister Fabian Pok and his Israeli counterpart was not signed as the deal was not ready.
Mr O’Neill has asked the Defence Minister to remain in Israel over the next two days to resolve the issue before traveling back to Port Moresby.
However, Mr O’Neill and his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, signed an umbrella agreement – the Joint Declaration of Co-operation – to cover other MoUs on defence, agriculture, trade and investment.
“It is a very important co-operation agreement that we will sign and one that will be managed under a joint treaty which will cover all other MOUs,” he said.
“It means that every five years when the treaty lapses it will automatically renew itself which means that we do not unnecessarily come into Israel to resign the treaty when it expires.
“This new arrangement will put the relationship between the two countries on a new level.” Mr O’Neill said that the treaty arrangement will also embark on re-building the National Intelligence Organisation which the Israeli government has agreed to assist with specialist training.
The only other agreement signed between the two countries was for the visa waiver agreement in ensuring that Papua New Guineans visiting the Holy Land will be exempted from visa requirements.
Mr O’Neill said the signing of the MOU on visa exemption between PNG and Israel enables Papua New Guinea to easily explore new trade and investment opportunities and can further draw from Israel’s vast experiences.
“I am pleased with Israel’s continued assistance in PNG’s economic development, particularly in agriculture and encourage further co-operation in other areas including national youth service, education and cultural exchanges,” he said.
ONE PNG/Post Courier