Minister Tkatchenko,  Minister Masurdi, Cross Indonesia-PNG Border on Foot

Friday 10 May 2024

Foreign Affairs Minister, Justin Tkatchenko addressing the 4th Joint Ministerial  Commission and 3rd Senior Officials Meeting in Jayapura on Thursday 9 May.

Foreign Affairs Minister Honourable Justin Tkatchenko  and   Indonesian Counterpart Her Excellency, Minister Retno Masurdi on Thursday May 9, 2024, created history by crossing the Indonesia-PNG Border on foot.

Minister Tkatchenko and Minister Masurdi crossed over from Indonesia to Papua New Guinea from the Skouw Border Post, through the ‘no-mans land’ stretch, and onto PNG soil at the Wutung Border Post on foot, in a momentous occasion for PNG-Indonesia relations.

The historic occasion followed bilateral meetings at the 4th Joint Ministerial Commission and the 3rd Senior Officials Meetings at the Swiss Bell Hotel, Jayapura on Wednesday 8 May.

“Today’s historical visit of the Foreign Minister of Indonesia to the border of Papua New Guinea, an event that has never happened before, and to be met by the Foreign Minister of Papua New Guinea, will go down in the history of our two countries,” Minister Tkatchenko said.

Minister Tkatchenko officially received Minister Masurdi upon their arrival at the Wutung Border Post, in a significant and gracious welcome gesture.

West Sepik Provincial Member Hon. Tony Wouwou, and Foreign Affairs Secretary Elias Wohengu were also present to formally accord Minister Masurdi an official welcome.

Indonesian Ambassador to PNG His Excellency Andriana Supandy also accompanied both ministers.

“It was an absolute privilege and honour to on behalf of our people and government, to welcome the Foreign Minister to Papua New Guinea through our gates at the border, in this historic event.

Minister Tkatchenko added that while this may seem irrelevant and unimportant to some, the day will be written into the history of both countries.

“We are joined together forever. Our borders will always be here, and
so will our issues and challenges.”

Minister Masurdi in her remarks at the bilateral meeting had applauded PNG for the initiative to host the meetings in Jayapura.

“Minister Tkatchenko will write history today. This is the first time that a bilateral meeting between Foreign Ministers of Indonesia and PNG is taking place in Jayapura,” Minister Masurdi said.

The Ministers continued on to Wutung Primary School, where K5 million Grant Aid Indonesian Assistance under the West Sepik Integrated Development Project Phase 1 is currently in progress.

 This includes the upgrade of 10 classrooms and a brand new administration building for the school, a fire station and fire engine, and new waste management system for the Vanimo township.

“Seeing this today, strengthens my hope of the very promising future that Indonesia and PNG will have,” Minister Masurdi later said in her remarks at Wutung Primary School.

She further expressed “with hope and optimism”, that she did not see Indonesia’s assistance through education, infrastructure, development and service mechanisms for PNG on mutual friendship basis only, but with added value in the school children as future ambassadors of friendship.

Minister Tkatchenko added that the progress of these projects were made possible under the Marape-Rosso Government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs,  who worked hard to ensure eventual implementation.

“Our relationship with the People’s Republic of Indonesia has never been stronger, under the leadership of our Prime Minister and the President of Indonesia, right through to Foreign Minister Masurdi and I.

“We will reflect back to this day in the years ahead, a day that demonstrated how strong and how important our relationship with Indonesia is.”

“It is significant also in that it is a demonstration to the rest of the world that we need to work together. We need to show our leadership.

“We need to understand ourselves with reasoning and understanding,” Mr Tkatchenko added.

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