12 Mar 2004

PNG mulls Iraq deployment

2:19 pm on 12 March 2004

The Papua New Guinea defence minister, Kappa Yarka, says talks have been held with the US about a possible deployment of PNG soldiers to Iraq.

This is being reported by the National newspaper in Port Moresby.

It says the minister disclosed this at the Taurama Barracks yesterday.

Mr Yarka says PNG soldiers have been performing well in peacekeeping duties in Solomon Islands and PNG's reputation was enhanced with its assistance in Vanuatu in 1980 when it helped put down a rebellion.

There has been no comment from the US embassy.

The announcement comes a week after PNG and Australia signed an agreement to cut the PNG defence force by another 600 men.