Australian PM, Kevin Rudd arrives in PNG for talks

PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd has arrived in Papua New Guinea for talks on trade, how to tackle crime in the Pacific Island nation and the controversial Australian-run detention centre on Manus Island.
Mr Rudd touched down at Port Moresby's Jackson's international airport shortly after 5pm and was greeted by deputy prime minister Leo Dion and Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato, as well as the now familiar troupe of traditional PNG dancers.
"It's wonderful to be back here in PNG," he said, noting it was his second official trip as prime minister to Australia's closest neighbour.
"I look forward to my discussions with Prime Minister O'Neill.
"I come here as a friend, a long standing friend, someone who believes in PNG's future."
High on the agenda on Sunday evening and Monday is PNG's endemic law and order problems.
"That concerns me," Mr Rudd told reporters in Cairns on Sunday before he headed to PNG.
"I am going to be talking to him about what we can do to enhance our cooperation there."
Kevin Rudd arrives in Port Moresby. Image credit:Kolen Koiye
Last month four Chinese nationals were stabbed to death not far from the central business district in Port Moresby.
"One issue that can arise for discussion is what level of support Australia can give for deployment of police," Mr Pato told journalists in Port Moresby in Sunday.
"We're looking to see what aid the Australian Federal Police can give."
The Australian-run Manus Island refugee processing centre is also expected to be on the agenda.
PNG's Supreme Court last week dismissed a constitutional challenge against the centre, and the UNHCR has heavily criticised the conditions at the site.
'Manus Mess' was the front page headline of PNG's only Sunday paper, the Sunday Chronicle.
In a late addition to the trip, Mr Rudd brought Immigration Minister Tony Burke and Trade Minister Richard Marles with him to PNG.
Mr Burke said he will discuss asylum seekers and the progress of construction of a permanent facility on Manus Island.
"This trip will allow me to get an update on the progress of developing the centre on Manus Island in advance of making a personal visit to Manus Island in a few weeks time," he said in a statement.
Acknowledging the UNHCR report, Mr Pato said he expects the facility to be discussed.
"We have a system that can address those issues and those are not issues that cannot be overcome," Mr Pato said.
Immediately after arriving Mr Rudd headed straight to government house to meet Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio.
On Sunday night he is expected to dine with Mr O'Neill and Australia's High Commissioner Deborah Stokes, before a series of talks with PNG government officials on Monday.


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