24 May 2005

Australian foreign minister to meet PNG counterpart this week

7:19 am on 24 May 2005

Australia's Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, says his Papua New Guinea counterpart will meet him for talks in Canberra later this week.

Mr Downer says Sir Rabbie Namaliu will be discussing the legal deadlock over the deployment of Australian police in PNG.

Australia withdrew more than a hundred police from PNG after the PNG Supreme Court ruled that laws giving the officers immunity from prosecution were unconstitutional.

Mr Downer says both Australia and Papua New Guinea want to find a solution to enable the police assistance mission to get going again as soon as possible.

A small number of Australian civil servants are still working in PNG under the US$606 million so-called Enhanced Co-operation Programme.