Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape is scheduled to visit Palau on July 29 and 30, President Surangel Whipps confirmed Wednesday.

“We welcome Prime Minister Marape and we will see him next week, “ Whipps told reporters during his weekly press conference.

Whipps said the PNG leader’s goal for the visit “was to bring the Pacific together.”

Marape is also in discussion with leaders Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Republic of Marshall Islands(RMI), Kiribati, and Nauru for a visit.

President Whipps said that Marape’s visit is welcome amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the World Health Organization, (WHO), from  January 3,  2020, to July 21, 2021, there have been 17,524 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 192 deaths.

As of 12 July 2021, a total of 66,351 vaccine doses have been administered in PNG, data from WHO showed.

Palau meanwhile has zero COVID-19 cases. 

President Whipps said while other nations are stricter than others, Palau welcomes guests as long as they provide vaccination proof and a negative COVID test.

He added that PNG Marape supported Micronesia’s position during the selection of the next Secretary-General.

Whipps said Micronesia is open to a dialogue with Mr. Marape on how to bring the Pacific together “the right way.”

“We appreciate his leadership and goal on how to work with us. As you know they are a strong supporter of Micronesia’s position and they were very clear on that … we appreciate his visit and support.”

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