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Historic Address as PNG Prime Minister Marape Expresses Gratitude To Australia in Parliament

Prime Minister James Marape of Papua New Guinea is set to deliver a heartfelt expression of gratitude to Australia for its unwavering support throughout the pre- and post-Independence era. This unprecedented address will take place on Thursday, 08 February 2024, marking Prime Minister Marape as the first Papua New Guinean and South Pacific leader to speak before the Australian Federal Parliament.

Historic Address as Prime Minister Marape Expresses Gratitude  To Australia in Parliament [Photo supplied]

The invitation, extended by Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, signifies a remarkable gesture of respect towards the people and government of Papua New Guinea, emphasizing the special relationship shared by the two nations. Speaking at a press conference before his departure from Jackson’s International Airport, PM Marape underscored the significance of the visit, noting that it symbolizes the collective efforts of leaders spanning nearly five decades.

“This is not just James Marape addressing Australian government leaders; I carry the office of the People of Papua New Guinea," Prime Minister Marape declared. Addressing skepticism surrounding the visit, he clarified, "The visit was planned over some time. I will be addressing the Australian Parliament as Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister 49 years after we gained independence peacefully from Australia."

During his address in Canberra, Prime Minister Marape is expected to acknowledge Australia's role in Papua New Guinea's development and emphasize the emerging co-development partnership in the Pacific. He will articulate his vision for Papua New Guinea to become economically resilient and self-sustaining with Australia's support, shifting away from reliance on aid, grants, and loans.

"It is no longer about aid but about trade, business, and commerce, so PNG can be strong and contribute economically in the region," Prime Minister Marape emphasized, outlining his commitment to a new era of collaboration.

Accompanied by his wife, Rachael, and distinguished statesmen Sir Yano Belo and Sir Nambuga Mara, Prime Minister Marape's delegation aims to return on Friday. Deputy Prime Minister John Rosso assumes the role of Acting Prime Minister during this period.

In a symbolic gesture of appreciation, Prime Minister Marape presented a gift to Serena Williams of the Ngunnawal People, traditional custodians of the Australian Capital Territory, upon their arrival at Reconciliation Place.

This historic address not only signifies a diplomatic milestone but also reinforces the enduring ties between Papua New Guinea and Australia.

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