"The relations between both nations, which were initiated almost 40 years ago, are very sound. At least this is what was said by the PNG officials," Ambassador Sitepu noted here Friday.
According to Sitepu, the relationship between the two countries was not at its best due to poor communication between the governments and communities of Indonesia and PNG.
"Majority of the Indonesian community is not interested in knowing about PNG and other small island countries located in the South Pacific region. So, Indonesians have less knowledge about PNG," Sitepu revealed.
He added that the citizens of PNG also lack knowledge about Indonesians. They are of the viewpoint that Indonesians were deceitful as they had abandoned their Melanesian families.
Moreover, negative propaganda has been spread by third parties, who did not want Indonesia and PNG to share good relations.
Therefore, Indonesia and PNG should continue to strengthen relations between their communities by promoting people-to-people contacts.
However, the relationship between both countries has been heading in a positive direction since the visit of Indonesian former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to PNG.
"This relationship is very important and too significant to be ignored as they are connected by two crucial issues: border-sharing areas and handling of separatist groups," Sitepu pointed out.
He affirmed that the relations between Indonesia and PNG have drastically evolved since the visit of PNG Prime Minister Peter ONeil to Indonesia and the inking of eleven memoranda of understanding between the two nations.
"The foundation of bilateral relationship has been built on the action plan on comprehensive partnership between the Republic of Indonesia and PNG," Sitepu added. [Antara]