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PNG MP to ask court for clarity on US agreements

Papua New Guinea’s opposition leader Joseph Lelang says he is going to ask the Supreme Court for a legal interpretation of both the Bilateral Defence Cooperation and the Shiprider agreements.

Late last month the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Papua New Guinea’s Minister for Defence Win Bakri Daki penned both deals in Port Moresby.

In a statement Lelang said while Parliament was allowed to debate on these agreements, the Government introduced them without any opportunity for informed debate.

Lelang said the signing of the agreement has been opposed across PNG.

“The signing of the agreement was very unpopular sparking so much public outcry right across the nation.

“People don’t want the Government to enter into this agreement with the United States.”

Lelang added: “the opposition is here to make sure that we protect the nation’s sovereignty and interests of our people”.

He said while he appreciates the government has the prerogative to enter into such bilateral agreements, they should not impinge on the sovereignty and constitutional rights of PNG’s people.

The Opposition Leader said he would be guided by his lawyers but his intention is to file a reference in the Supreme Court for legal interpretation of the content of the two agreements and the manner in which the Government has introduced and dealt with the agreements in Parliament.

University of PNG political scientist Michael Kabuni told RNZ Pacific last week whenever the US signs these sorts of deals with developing countries, the result is inevitably a heavy militarisation.

Source: RNZ