Wednesday 24th May 2023
Prime Minister Hon. James Marape says the Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) between the United States of America and Papua New Guinea does not in any way encroach into the sovereignty of the country.
And he has assured Papua New Guineans that all aspects of the DCA will be made available to the public through a Parliamentary Statement that he will make.
“I am working to release the agreement for public knowledge, and on Thursday this week, we will send the State Solicitor and Foreign Affairs and Defence Secretaries, to go through the DCA with students and interest groups to ensure they are informed correctly.”
PM Marape made his remarks during the historic signing of the DCA by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Minister Hon. Win Daki at APEC Haus in Port Moresby (Monday, May 22, 2023.
“This agreement in no way encroaches into our sovereignty,” PM Marape said.
“We will, after this signing, inform all stakeholders and our citizens on all aspects of the agreement.
“It will be transparent and shown to everyone who has an interest in it.
Prime Minister assured every Papua New Guinean that, in no way this DCA affects other defence cooperation agreements, defence relationships and bilateral relationships PNG already has with other countries.
“This is a straight two-way highway between the Pentagon and Murray Barracks, between Washington and Waigani, between USA and PNG.”
Prime Minister is satisfied this agreement will add value to and strengthen this country’s economy going into the future, adding the DCA would also strengthen US-PNG relations going into the future.
“We have been important partners of the past,” PM Marape said.
“Our shared bonds and experiences have kept our two nations together until 2023, when we elevate this, in as far as our defence cooperation is concerned.
“We are elevating from what used to be a generic relationship under the 1989 Status of Force Agreement (SOFA) to a specific relationship with the United States people, government and defence force
“Papua New Guinea has a Visiting Forces Act of 1975 which allows for these agreements to be entered into.”
PM Marape said this law was born out of Section 206 of the Constitution and the DCA was done transparently and following proper processes.
He said it was the result of many years of hard work by both countries.