5 Dec 2007

NZ Foreign Minister to discuss regional security challenges with PNG

10:42 pm on 5 December 2007

Regional security challenges, such as Fiji and the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, will be key issues under discussion when the New Zealand Foreign Minister meets his Papua New Guinea counterpart, Sam Abal, this week.

Winston Peters is travelling to PNG for four days and will also meet with Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare and local leaders in the Highlands provinces of Enga and Western Highlands.

Mr Peters says it is helpful for New Zealand to engage with a country which plays a central role in developments that shape the stability of the region.

"PNG's role in the Pacific Forum is very very important and also its role in peace and security in the countries like Solomon Islands and its influence is extremely important in respect to where New Zealand sits and the aid and foreign policy programmes that we are pursuing."

Winstone Peters says he will also be expressing New Zealand's sympathies to Sir Michael over the recent devastating floods in Oro Province.