The National aka The Loggers Times
PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has branded as misleading statements regarding the change of ownership of Ok Tedi Mining Ltd and compensation for the impacted communities in Western.
That includes statements on the setting up of the PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP).
He presented to Parliament yesterday the report of the Eminent Persons Group set up by the National Executive Council to mediate and facilitate an agreement between the State, PNGSDP, BHP Billiton and Ok Tedi.
O’Neill said the EPG comprised former Prime Minister Sir Rabbie Namaliu, former Lae MP Bart Philemon and Minister for Public Service Sir Puka Temu.
They recommended to the State and PNGSDP that they immediately sign a heads of agreement which set out very clear commitments and actions agreed by the parties.
“Despite the efforts and recommendations of the EPG, the PNGSDP board rejected the recommendations,” he said. “In noting and anticipating this, the EPG recommended that the State has demonstrated very clearly its genuine efforts, and therefore should undertake direct negotiations with BHP Billiton, with or without PNGSDP.
“The NEC, in considering the EPG report on March 5, 2014, decided that any efforts in further discussions with Sir Mekere (Morauta) and PNGSDP will be unproductive as PNGSDP has no intention to reach agreement with the State.” O’Neill said this was not the first time PNGSDP and Sir Mekere “reneged on agreements they have reached with the State”.
“Sir Mekere and I reached the agreement, confirmed by us shaking hands in Majuro, Marshall Islands, in early September 2013 on the sides of the Pacific Forum meeting,” he said.
“Immediately on return to Port Moresby, Sir Mekere and the PNGSDP board served legal proceedings against the State. At no time in Majuro did Sir Mekere convey any concerns to me.”