PORT MORESBY (Post Courier) â€” Papua New Guinea and Palau will continue to work together to facilitate marine conservation, Prime Minister Peter Oâ€™Neill said following his meeting with Palauâ€™s President Tommy Remengesu Jr. in Tokyo on Thursday.
In their discussions, the two leaders shared views on the Pacific Islands Forum policy agenda, as well as expanding marine eco-tourism opportunities and preparations for the Pacific Games in Port Moresby.
Oâ€™Neill congratulated President Remengesu on Palauâ€™s leadership as the current Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum that has highlighted the importance of marine resources.
â€œPalau has demonstrated very capable leadership of the Forum since taking over as chair last year,â€ the prime minister said.
â€œThe Palau Declaration on the Ocean, Life and Future sought to build partnerships to protect marine resources and the lives of those who depend on the sea. Significant work has been undertaken in this area during the course of the year.
â€œAs Papua New Guinea prepares to take over Chair responsibilities of the Pacific Islands Forum in September, we will continue to work closely with Palau to ensure a smooth transition and continuation of their work.â€
The prime minister further congratulated his counterpart on the achievements Palau is making in the area of marine protection at a local level.
â€œPalau has taken a strong role in protecting Pacific marine habitats and is demonstrating to the region how to do this successfully in their local environment.
â€œEach country in the Pacific has different local conditions, but we can all draw from the experience of Forum members.
â€œWith new eco-tourism ventures opening in Papua New Guinea, I would like to see our officials work together and share further ideas to expand this sector in both countries.â€
Palau will be sending 50 athletes to compete in the Pacific Games, and the two leaders discussed options for Palau to charter an Air Niugini aircraft to take competitors, officials and families to Port Moresby in July.
â€œPapua New Guinea looks forward to great competition with Palau at the Games and we expect their team will do very well,â€ Oâ€™Neill said.
â€œWe will work with games officials from Palau and Air Niugini to look at options for the team to charter an aircraft for a direct flight from Koror.â€
He said the two countries are also engaged in discussions on establishing an Air Services Agreement that will further facilitate travel and ongoing engagement between the two countries and the rest of the Pacific.
[Original post at Marianas Variety:Â http://www.mvariety.com/regional-news/77145-papua-new-guinea-and-palau-leaders-meet-in-tokyo]