A public holiday is likely to be declared in Port Moresby on Monday next week when United States President Joe Biden arrives for his three-hour stop-over, says Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape.
Marape has written to Governor-General Sir Bob Dadae requesting the public holiday “so that schools, government offices and business houses in the city will be closed”.
Biden is expected to arrive around 4.30pm on Monday. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives at 11pm on Sunday.
Marape said the airspace above the Jackson International Airport and parts of Port Moresby city would be closed down after the arrival of President Biden.
He also said all security personnel from India and the U.S had been cleared to come into the country with their leaders.
About 200 officials from both countries are already on the ground.
“This is an historical visit – the first time a sitting US president and the India prime minister visit our nation,” Marape said.
“Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the FIPIC and the United States President Joe Biden will attend the US-PNG Pacific Islands Leaders meeting.
“There will also be bilateral meetings between PNG and the U.S, and PNG and India.”
Marape said that parts of the city would be closed off.
Meanwhile, Moresby South MP Justin Tkatchenko, who recently stepped down as foreign affairs minister following his “primitive animals” comment, Monday appeared before the Ombudsman Commission, according to Prime Minister James Marape.
Marape said the Ombudsman Commission wanted Tkatchenko to explain himself.
“He appeared in front of the commission for an interview this (Monday) morning”,” he said.
Tkatchenko said his “primitive animals” comment was directed at social media trolls and not intended for all Papua New Guineans.
Marape also clarified that only four people from the Foreign Affairs Department did attend King Charles coronation in London.
“My wife and I were also invited to attend, but humbly turned the invitation down,” he said.
“So Foreign Affairs Minister Justin Tkatchenko and his wife attended.
“When his wife could not make it, Tkatchenko (took) his daughter instead.”
As for the governor-general’s entourage, Marape said the vice-regal always travelled with his own security, protocol and media officers.
“So he always travels with his own team,” he said.
“We also had some soldiers that went down, with our flag-bearer, as Papua New Guinea is part of the Commonwealth, and our soldiers were invited to take part in the coronation programme.”
Marape also appealed to the people to forgive Tkatchenko.
“We have a big event coming up, with two world leaders visiting our country.
“Let’s forgive and move on,” he said.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS