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PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill keen to enhance PNG-UK relations

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has expressed PNG’s desire to improve current bilateral relations with the United Kingdom.

Mr O’Neill said this yesterday when receiving the new United Kingdom High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, Simon Tonge, who presented his letter of introduction to the PM.

Mr O’Neill and the new high commissioner discussed a number of bilateral issues, including trade, academic scholarships and the Commonwealth and Pacific Games.

"I was pleased to welcome High Commissioner Tonge to Papua New Guinea and I expressed our desire for ongoing warm bilateral relations," Mr O’Neill said.

"There is real potential to increase and diversify trade between Papua New Guinea and the United Kingdom.

"Currently the United Kingdom is our 12th largest trading partner and exports from Papua New Guinea continue to expand.

"Several British companies have announced their intentions to increase investments in our country’s energy sector and we welcome this vote of confidence."

Mr O’Neill said the ongoing cooperation and support to PNG in education is well received and appreciated.

"The Government will be funding more undergraduate and post graduate positions for students to study in the United Kingdom and we are discussing this with the British Government.

"The British Chevening Scholarship is an important international program that enables a select number of individuals to study for their masters degree in the United Kingdom. It is for those interested in leadership in governance across a range of disciplines and I urge qualified students to apply.

"It is important for the nation that students bring this knowledge back to use for the betterment of our nation."

The PM also congratulated the high commissioner for the UK’s hosting of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

"The PNG delegation to the 20th Commonwealth Games was made to feel welcome in Glasgow, and the outstanding sporting facilities enabled our athletes to compete at their highest levels."

PNG and the UK have maintained diplomatic relations for nearly 38 years since 16 September, 1975.

Mr O’Neill said organisers of the 2015 Pacific Games have been in contact with officials from Glasgow.

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