Papua New Guinea
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Israel to support PNG embassy

The Government of Israel will “bankroll” Papua New Guinea’s Embassy in the Holy City of Jerusalem for two years before the PNG can take ownership of all costs, Prime Minister James Marape said.

Marape announced this at APEC Terminal before jetting off to Jerusalem through Singapore for his official State visit and to officially open PNG’s newest Embassy in the Holy Land – Jerusalem.

He said the Israeli Government for the first two years will pay for the cost of the Embassy.

But according to reports from Isreal through the paper’s establishment, the PNG Government will have to foot about K75,000 per month (including tax) for this office which is located at a high-end building used by the Israeli government.

And the Israeli Government has indicated giving a piece of land to the PNG Government to build its permanent embassy in the coming years.

Prime Minister Marape will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for bilateral meetings today and for the official opening of the embassy, an office space previously used by the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Israel, in a building south of Jerusalem.

PM Marape who arrived yesterday morning at the Ben Gurion Airport in Israel will be given a tour of the Old City of Jerusalem and visit the Church of Holy Sepulcher this morning at 9am (local time).

Following the tour, the Prime Minister Marape will depart for Yad Vashem to visit the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre at 11am (local time).

After the Visit, he will meet with Israeli Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eli Cohen at 4.15 pm (local time). At 5.30pm (local time) PM Marape will officially meet with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu for the bilateral meeting at Mr Netanyahu’s Office.

Following the bilateral meeting, the PM will depart for Jerusalem Technology Park to open the PNG Embassy.

The new Embassy is expected to be opened at 6.45pm (local time).

PNG’s Embassy is at the Jerusalem Technology Park also Malha Technology Park which is a high-tech industrial park located in the Malha neighborhood of southwest Jerusalem. It is near the Malha Mall, Israel’s biggest shopping mall.

Marape also said before jetting off on Sunday afternoon that after the official set up of the office and opening he will return to PNG and kick off the process to appoint an Ambassador for the Embassy.

“In Israel – for the first two years the nation of Israel will be paying for the cost of the embassy and going forward PNG will take on from there,” Mr Marape said.

“They have indicated a land available for us and we look forward to receiving it and setting a permanent embassy there….and of course under my watch PNG will always be voting with Israel. So long as the human rights are met,” he said.

PNG will be among a handful of countries, Honduras, United States to open an embassy in the Holy city of Jerusalem.

Marape travelled with a huge entourage including a delegation of pastors travelling to Israel for the opening, PNG government and church officials.

The Post-Courier has been in contact with the officials in Jerusalem who said that the local media was not allowed to be present for the official opening as it was for security reasons.

“So Israel is the first step, a new venture into us opening an embassy there and having a closer bilateral more so relevant for us as a Christian nation and Christianity – as a sedimental affinity for us but more importantly, the nation of Israel is knowledge based economy, knowledge based nation and us in a greater partnership in that space, hopefully greater capacity in that space.

“A mutual understanding of the government of Israel and the government of Papua New Guinea – apart from that on the occasion of the opening of the embassy announcement, more importantly we will be signing some MOU and possible engagements of special expertise from Israel in the area of security, in the area of intelligence, in the area of technology, more so agriculture and industrial technology and in the area of partnering them for accessibility to some capacities them may have in space especially satellite technology,” Mr Marape told media.

“We’re going there, establishing that contact, office setting up and when we come back the process will follow and we post a suitable ambassador,” he said.

We are looking for a confident Papua New Guinean that has the heart to take on that place.”