Papua New Guinea ratifies outstanding PNG-Indonesia Defence Cooperation Agreement

Tuesday 27 February 2024

Foreign Minister Justin Tkatchenko and Indonesian Ambassador to PNG, HE Andriana Supandy, displaying the ratified  Defence Cooperation Agreement  during this morning’s mews conference.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Justin Tkatchenko, on Wednesday February 21 signed the Instrument of Ratification on behalf of the Government of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea.

Consistent with the provisions of the Defence Cooperation Agreement, when the last party – Papua New Guinea, signs and delivers its instrument of ratification, this triggers the full formal entry into force of the agreement.

It also signals that the two parties are now bound by the agreement and that both parties have observed due processes of ratification in their individual domestic settings.

Minister Tkatchenko affirmed that Papua New Guinea’s Ratification activates the commencement of life of the Defence Cooperation Agreement between the two countries. This agreement will be reviewed five (5) years from the date of the entry into force of the agreement.

The Agreement was ratified by the National Parliament on Wednesday February 14.

The signing of the Instrument of Ratification follows Certification by Acting Speaker Hon Koni Iguan MP pursuant to Section 117(6) of the Constitution, and Prime Minister Hon. James Marape MP, acting under provisions of Section 117(5)(b) and the Instrument of Ratification is the granting of consent for PNG to be bound as a party to the PNG-Indonesian Defence Cooperation Agreement.

The Papua New Guinea – Indonesia Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) was signed on 12 March 2010 in Port Moresby respectively by the then Minister for Defence of Papua New Guinea Hon. Bob Dadae,  and his Indonesian counterpart, Hon. Purnomo Yusgiantoro.

The Agreement was subsequently ratified by the Government of the Republic of Indonesia in 2012. However, Papua New Guinea was yet to ratify the said Agreement.

“Since Ratification by Indonesia, the agreement requires its ‘Entry into Force’ to be triggered by Papua New Guinea through this Instrument of Ratification, for the agreement to commence a life,” Minister Tkatchenko said.

The Agreement has not been in force since Indonesia’s Ratification, and the signing by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and exchange of Instruments of Ratification, commits Papua New Guinea to the Bilateral Defence Cooperation Agreement, triggering ‘Entry into Force’.

“The Internal security of a nation is embedded on the Security of Commerce, Trade; the Security of its people, and of its nation state.

Mr Tkatchenko added, “Security is a cornerstone of Trade, Investment, and Business. It importantly is our assurance that Papua New Guinea is a credible international member in the community of nations..”

“That assurance is that,  it is able to, and has the ability to safeguard its Independence, its identity and the security of those within its sovereign jurisdiction.

“Therefore, for all these other things to take place, Security is  paramount,” Mr  Tkatchenko said.

“In PNG we hope to speak to our security challenges that embeds our relations along our 800km border corridor.

“And if we can speak to those issues through this DCA with Indonesia – to help build some of our security capabilities and capacities 

“We must be able to provide assurance to our people, that we are able to guarantee Papua New Guinea’s well being and safety, and at the same time protect investment and foreign citizens living in our country.”

Mr Tkatchenko further clarified, that through this DCA, “we  can build a resilient PNG through these sorts of collaborative arrangements.”

Having ratified the DCA, PNG will now institute the necessary internal arrangements in collaboration with the relevant line agencies such as the Department of Defence, the PNG Defence Force including the Department of Foreign Affairs to implement the Agreement.

The Indonesian Government while waiting for the Papua New Guinea Government to formally ratify the Defence Cooperation Agreement, has rendered support to the PNG Defence Force by mutual interest of strengthening the military relationship.

The assistance rendered include; provision of military band, training of PNG Defense Force Personnel at the Indonesia military staff college and providing assistance to the PNG Defence Force CASA rehabilitation program.

Background  Notes:

Papua New Guinea – Republic of Indonesia Defence Cooperation Agreement

The Agreement is intended to develop and strengthen friendly relations and cooperation between PNG and Indonesia in the field of Defence on the basis of the principles of mutual respect for each other’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality, mutual benefit and peaceful co-existence as enshrined in the United Nations Charter and other universally recognized norms of international law.

It (the Agreement) is also premised upon the existing ‘Treaty of Mutual Respect, Friendship and Cooperation” between PNG and Indonesia and will serve as a regulatory framework to guide military relations and cooperation between Papua New Guinea and the Republic of Indonesia military personnel in areas set forth in the text of the Agreement.

 Benefits of Ratifying the PNG-Indonesia Defense Cooperation Agreement 

The areas for cooperation as stipulated in the Agreement include regular dialogue between the militaries of both countries on strategic and security issues of common concern; exchange of personnel for training; sharing of information on defense establishment, especially military intelligence; provision of logistical support, as well as promotion of coordination of operations between the two militaries on certain security operations as mutually identified.

Ratifying the Defense Cooperation Agreement will enable the two countries to effectively and  in a more coordinated and formal manner address pressing border issues such as illegal residence along the border; border management military surveillance and exercises; illegal entry/crossing of the border by transnational criminals.

Once the Agreement is ratified and Enters into force, the PNG Defence Force will require to be equipped with better border infrastructures, extra man power and other necessary resources to effectively implement the Agreement.

This will ensure that PNG is on par with the development taking place on the Indonesian side of the border.

The Agreement in the long run will continue to guide the Armed Forces of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea and the Republic of Indonesia in effectively dealing with pressing issues of administration, development and management of the border and all other common security threats and concerns along our border.

Additionally, outside of the formal Defense agreements between PNG and Indonesia armed forces, the two armed forces have on occasion had military intelligence consultations and meetings under the ambit of the annual PNG-Indonesia Joint Border Conferences and Border Liaison Meetings which is interchangeably convened between PNG and Indonesia at the senior officials level.

The Agreement shall remain in force for five (5) years from the date of ratification and upon its expiry therefore, shall automatically be renewed by both parties unless it is renounced by either party through written notice to the other at least ninety (90) days prior to its intention to terminate this Agreement, as provided for in Article XI of this Agreement.

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