15 Mar 2004

Foreign Ministers of Australia and PNG to discuss stalemate over police deployment

7:33 am on 15 March 2004

Australia's Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, will meet his Papua New Guinea counterpart in Canberra today to discuss a stalemate over plans to deploy Australian police in PNG.

Australia is demanding legal immunity for police and officials being deployed to PNG to help combat lawlessness and corruption.

The PNG government has rejected Australia's demand that the 300 officials and police be granted immunity from local legal proceedings.

Australia wants any crimes committed by the foreigners to be heard in an Australian court.

But many in PNG feel it is unfair that foreigners sent to uphold the country's laws should not be bound by the same legislation.