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    The Prime Minister of Papua-New Guinea, Mr. Michael Somare signed two financial treaties in Washington?

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    The Prime Minister of Papua-New Guinea, Mr. Michael Somare signed two financial treaties in Washington D.C. on Thursday (9 October). Mr. Somare, who led his nation to independence last month, then met the U.S. Secretary of State, Dr. Henry Kissinger.

    Mr. Somare signed agreements at the State Department with American Under Secretary of State Phillip Habib. They covered Papua New Guinea's membership of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

    Papua-New Guinea was until September administered by Australia as a United Nations trust territory. Emergency to full independence has not been easy for the new nation.

    The mineral rich island of Bougainville has already declared itself "independent" of Papua-New Guinea. It has accused the new Pot Moresby Government and Australia of past indifference to the island's problems. The loss of the island would be a major blow to the revenue of Papua New Guinea.

    However, Mr. Somare has ignored the break-away move and insisted that the central government administration on the island remains intact - and functioning.

    Another problem for Mr. Somare is the recent serious outbreak of fighting between hill tribesmen in the New Guinea highlands. They have a war-like tradition which had declined in recent years. However with independence, tribal differences have emerged again to pose a major headache for the government.

    With more than enough problems, both economic and social, Mr. Somare is anxious to quickly gain the support of the world's leading financial institutions to help the country -- hence the visit to Washington and the signing on the treaties.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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