30 Nov 2006

Forest workshop in PNG off after negative newspaper campaign

9:40 pm on 30 November 2006

The European Commission office in Papua New Guinea has drops plans for an international forestry workshop next week after a negative media campaign in a newspaper run by the country's largest logging company.

The Forest Dialogue was a government initiative to develop a consensus on how to solve the problems caused by the rampant logging in the country.

The National newspaper claimed, in reports and through advertising that agencies such as the European Commission were working against government wishes.

But the Commission's head of Delegation, Aldo Dell'Ariccia, says they became involved after a written request for help from the government and when this was not clarified the EC was forced to pull out of the event.

"We have international participants who are waiting to get the green light to start. It is a matter of confirmation of tickets, confirmation of reservations, confirmation of venue and we had a deadline. The deadline is passed and unfortunately we don't have yet a final reply from the government - I think there has been a problem of communication probably."