International Relations. Papua New Guinea press review
The PNG Embassy in Brussels (Belgium) is in contact with four PNG citizens who have registered at the Embassy. One of the four citizens is a mining engineer working in Guinea (West Africa). One citizen is a lecturer of the University of Technology in Lae, who was on academic exchange programme at a University, outside of Madrid (Spain). The other two are in France.
The mining engineer in Guinea was advised by his employer to contact the Embassy in case of any repatriation if required.
PNG Ambassador to Belgium and the European Union Joshua Kalinoe said that the other three in France and Spain have requested the Embassy’s assistance to facilitate their return to PNG. According to Mr. Kalinoe, the Embassy’s consular officers are in constant communication with them and is also in contact with the Foreign Affairs officials in Paris and Madrid to assist, on flight information in and out of these two countries and the best possible route of transit. It should be marked, that ‘most transit points to PNG from Europe are closed and also some airlines have suspended their operations’. Moreover, traditional border crossing arrangements for travel with PNG between Indonesia, Australia the Federated States of Micronesia and Solomon Islands are suspended. Mr. Joshua Kalinoe said that ‘the Embassy has also been in touch with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Covid19 Team in Port Moresby and we are working on getting the three nationals to PNG through Australia, via Abu Dhabi’.
PNG Ambassador to Belgium and the European Union also appealed to Papua New Guineans to inform the Embassy of any friends or relatives, their location and who may be in other countries in Europe on short term Visa through the Department of Foreign Affairs in Port Moresby.
Against the background of the worsening situation with COVID-19 in the world, Papua New Guinea is also tightening its migration rules. The leadership of the country decided to quarantine any Papua New Guineans permitted to enter by aircraft at a designated facility in Port Moresby at the Government’s cost. ‘This includes PNG students currently abroad who Prime Minister James Marape says the government is planning to repatriate on a special flight’.
While Indonesian military forces are monitoring the 750-kilometre border at various points, a range of PNG military personnel have been deployed to the border provinces to bolster security. 125 PNG Defence Force personnel were deployed to Sandaun (West Sepik). Moreover, PNG Defence Force naval vessels and police have been instructed to patrol the seas.