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Speaker: PNG Still In Commonwealth Parliament Group
Zurenuoc calls withdrawal fiasco ‘embarrassment’

By Wanpis Ako

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Jan. 23, 2013) – Papua New Guinea will continue its membership of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Speaker Theo Zurenuoc says.

And he has not authorized any decision by the national parliament to withdraw from the CPA.

"We cannot pull back our membership from such an important organization," he said on Monday. "I am concerned at the manner in which we indicated our intention for withdrawal through a correspondence by the acting parliament clerk Simon Ila in December."

Zurenuoc denied any knowledge of the letter, saying it by-passed his approval. He said they had written to the CPA to advise that the letter was a blunder.

"The damage has already been done so we are trying to sort it out, it was an embarrassment for us," he said. The speaker added they had the financial capacity to pay the CPA affiliation fees.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill had earlier denounced the move and described it as a "joke."

O’Neill said PNG could miss out on the opportunities provided by the organization to former parliamentarians in the Commonwealth of Nations to participate and share ideas on good governance and democracy.

PNG’s fate will be decided when the CPA executive committee meets on March 17-22.

The CPA’s mission is to promote the advancement of parliamentary democracy by enhancing knowledge and understanding of democratic governance.

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