20 Apr 2010

Bougainville key pillar in PNG relationship with NZ, says Somare

9:33 pm on 20 April 2010

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare says that the Bougainville peace process is a key pillar in his country's relationship with New Zealand.

Meeting his New Zealand counterpart John Key in Wellington today, Sir Michael acknowledged New Zealand's involvement in Bougainville since the civil war and subsequent peace monitoring missions.

He says that for the upcoming second elections in the autonomous PNG province, the government has invited partners, including New Zealand, to observe a credible election process.

Meanwhile, Sir Michael says while there is a balance of trade in New Zealand's favour, there is room for improvement in trade and economic relations between the two countries.

PNG's current major exports to New Zealand are crude oil, coffee, timber and other wood products while New Zealand investments in PNG are largely in the insurance and construction industries.

Both leaders discussed other regional issues relating to The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, and items for the upcoming Pacific Island Forum and Melanesian Spearhead Group meetings.