PNG Prime Minister to discuss Manus Island with Morrison and Albanese
Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape has arrived in Australia for his first official visit since being elected in late May.
Mr Marape wants a deadline for the ending of the offshore detention on Manus Island.
“We would like it to end as soon as possible,” Mr Marape said.
Mr Marape will receive a ceremonial welcome in Canberra before meeting for talks with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese.
However, he will not address parliament.
Mr Morrison invited Mr Marape as part of his “Pacific step-up strategy”, which aims to increase Australia’s engagement with its Pacific neighbours through deeper economic and security cooperation.
Mr Morrison said during the election in Papua New Guinea he was looking forward to working with Mr Marape on “our many shared interests.”
Mr Marape’s visit comes just days after Greens senator Nick McKim attempted to visit Manus Island detention centre but was deported and told by PNG immigration officials he had not followed appropriate procedures.
Mr McKim denies he had done anything wrong.
Greens leader Richard Di Natale praised his colleague for trying to shine a light on a “dark chapter in this nation’s history.”
“What’s gone on here is that somebody, a decent person representing the voices of millions of Australians, has sought to shine a spotlight on what are horrific human rights abuses being contributed in the name of the Australian Government,” Senator Di Natale told the ABC’s Insiders program.
Thousands of people attended rallies around Australia on Saturday to protest the offshore processing on Manus Island, calling for it to come to an end.
Around 450 asylum seekers remain in PNG while another 350 are being held on Nauru.
Friday marks six years since the Rudd Labor Government reintroduced offshore detention for asylum seekers who arrived by boat.
Mr Marape will be accompanied by his wife Rachael and several ministers on his six day tour of Australia.
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