Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon. James Marape, extended an invitation today (Monday, June 5, 2023) to France President H.E. Emmanuel Macron, inviting him to visit Papua New Guinea.

The invitation was extended during a meeting between PM Marape and Mr. Walid Fouque, Special Advisor for Asia and the Pacific to President Macron, held in Port Moresby.

PM Marape and President Macron previously met in Gabon, Central Africa, in March of this year on the sidelines of the One Forest Summit.

While discussing the potential visit, PM Marape stated: “There is a possibility that President Macron may visit PNG, however, this is subject to continued dialogue between France and PNG,” expressing optimism about the potential visit.

Reflecting on his meeting with Mr. Fouque, PM Marape described it as “highly productive”, highlighting the ongoing efforts to strengthen bilateral relations between France and PNG.

“Under my leadership, France and PNG have been enhancing our bilateral relationship, just as we have been doing with other nations,” said PM Marape.

“The commitment of President Macron is evident through his decision to send his Special Advisor to engage with me and discuss matters of mutual interest between our countries.”

He further encouraged more French companies to follow the example set by TotalEnergies at Papua LNG and invest in PNG, particularly in downstream processing of natural resources such as forests.

Recognising the evolving geopolitical landscape in the region, PM Marape emphasised the significance of PNG as “neutral ground” and urged France to consider the country’s strategic position amidst the increasing regional dynamics.

The visit of President Macron to PNG would further solidify the growing cooperation and shared goals between the two nations, particularly in the realms of forest conservation, French investments in PNG like TotalEnergies, mobilising resources to support small Pacific Island countries and communities and other relevant matters.