PORT MORESBY (POST COURIER) — Russia has expressed regret over PNG’s position to support war-torn Ukraine at the United Nations General Assembly last week.
Its ambassador to Indonesia, Lyudmila Vorovieba, who is accredited to PNG, said her country noted PNG’s position delivered by the Permanent Representative to the UN, Max Rai, and expressed hope that there might be a change of view in the future.
Vorovieba told the Post-Courier Russia was hopeful that in the future, PNG would exercise more reasonable and balanced approach to the situation.
She said PNG should take into account Russian arguments bearing in mind that Moscow was deprived of any other options of protection of Russian citizens who had been living in hell on Ukrainian soil since 2014.
“Recognising the Donetsk and Lugansk Peoples’ Republics and launching special military operation, the Russian Government was ready and well aware of possible economic sanctions imposed by Western countries,” she said.
“It is an open secret that in current inter-connected world, such restrictive measures are to have cascade effect and influence global economy in general.”
She said although the current trade volume did not reflect the potential of bilateral co-operation between Russia and PNG, they were hopeful and working on it as a 45-year relationship still beckoned.
“More than 45 years, Russia and Papua New Guinea enjoyed economic partnership although in limited scale,” she said.
“In June 2020 to June 2021 bilateral trade reached US$3 million.
“Russian export to PNG is dominated with chemicals, machines and equipment, paper, plastic goods, while Moscow imports PNG coffee, cacao beans, sawn woods.
“In this regard we push forward signing the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation and the Department of Commerce and Industry of the Independent State of PNG and the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Conditions of Mutual Exemption from Visa Requirements.’’
“In our view, the most promising spheres of co-operation are agriculture (crops, machines and fertilizers), fishery, transport, energy, oil and gas, mining industry, tourism, science and education.
“The Russian side does not imply any restrictions with regard to the access of Papua New Guinean goods to Russian market given their compliance with the quality requirements.
“Pandemic COVID-19 has unveiled new opportunities for co-operation between our countries in vaccine supplies and pharmaceutics.
“On the regular basis, we try to involve the Papua New Guineans into students’ exchanges (our Government provides scholarships for studying in Russia) and vocational trainings for civil servants.
“For closer cooperation we agreed on establishment of the office of Papua New Guinea Honorary Consul in Moscow.
“The Miklouho-Maclay Foundation also makes considerable humanitarian contribution by organising various conferences, exhibitions, expeditions to enhance people-to-people and business-to-business contacts.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister James Marape has weighed in on the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine, calling for both sides to find peace and respect each other’s sovereignty.
He said this in Parliament after Oro Governor Gary Juffa asked him on PNG’s position on the war.
Marape said the effects of the conflict would have global implications such as on the prices of goods and services.
Governor Juffa described the situation in Ukraine as “alarming” and added that serious consequences would occur in relation to trade, and impact the country’s economy.
“Is the government monitoring the situation and its impacts, what are the observations and what are the possible steps will the government take to mitigate any negative situations arising from this event, such as the increase in prices?” Juffa asked.
Marape said events unfolding in Eastern Europe had strong implications for the wellbeing of the country.
“The crisis that is taking place in Ukraine between two neighbouring nations has a global effect, the effect of what happens in different parts of the world does cascade into different economies,” he said.
He said a brief he received from Treasury depicted a price hike in crude oil had gone past US$103 (K262) per barrel.
“Our economy is import dependent in almost 80 percents in all our goods we take.
“In as far as our position on the Ukraine matter and that is for both sides to find peace through peaceful means and for reconciliation and dialogue to take place,” Marape said…. PACNEWS