Papua New Guinea
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Lelang cautions Gov’t

Leader of the Opposition and Member for Kandrian-Gloucester, Joseph Lelang has cautioned Prime Minister James Marape's move to establish Papua New Guinea’s new embassy in Jerusalem, Israel.

Prime Minister Marape formally opened PNG’s embassy in Jerusalem, making PNG one of just five countries in the world to do so.

Almost all foreign embassies are in Tel Aviv, apart from the US, Honduras, Kosovo and Guatemala.

Lelang said Jerusalem is a disputed territory between Palestine and Israel and opening an embassy there may "not be a wise move".

“While we recognize that the government of the day has the authority to open our foreign mission there, there is a reason why the rest of the world have decided not to move their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”

Lelang called on the Government to come clear on what strategic interest to the nation will this decision serve on the 10 million people of Papua New Guinea.

Meanwhile, while opening the embassy PM Marape said the move had deep religious significance.

"Many nations choose not to open their embassies in Jerusalem, but we made the conscious choice," he said.

PM Marape said he also hoped his visit to Israel would attract new Israeli trade and agriculture investment for Papua New Guinea.