23 May 2005

PNG to hear from New Zealand about policing request

1:22 pm on 23 May 2005

The Papua New Guinea foreign minister says he expects to hear from New Zealand this week on whether Wellington can send more police to the island of Bougainville following the departure of the Australian officers.

The Australians left after their immunity status was declared unconstitutional.

Sir Rabbie Namaliu made an official request but gave no indication how many police he would like to be sent.

Sir Rabbie has also expressed gratitude for the assistance offered by Wellington so far.

"I just wish to thank the New Zealand government and the New Zealand people for the assistance you have continued to provide in getting these peace talks underway when they were stalled and also for having continued to be part of the process right up until this momentous moment."

Sir Rabbie Namaliu, Papua New Guinea's foreign minister