11 Apr 2005

PNG still waiting for apology from Australia over PM's airport incident

7:20 am on 11 April 2005

A spokesman for the Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, says PNG is prepared to wait for an apology from Australia over a security check incident at Brisbane Airport.

Sir Michael was offended when he was asked to remove his shoes at the end of a lengthy security check at the airport late last month when he was in transit to PNG from New Zealand.

PNG has twice asked Australia -- so far unsuccessfully --to apologise and followed this up late last week with suspension of part of a 613 million US dollar aid package provided by Canberra.

Sir Michael's spokesman, Joshua Kalinoe, says all that's wanted is a simple statement from Australia and an intention not to let the insult of a major Pacific leader happen again.

"Australia will have to admit that it happened and they will have to admit that it was a regrettable incident that happened and will try to make sure that it doesn't happen."