19 Aug 2005

PNG not ready to be part of peacekeeping force - report

11:23 am on 19 August 2005

Reports from Papua New Guinea say the country isn't ready to participate in any South Pacific peace keeping force.

The Police Minister Bire Kimisopa has told the National newspaper any regional police force would have to be more understanding of cultural issues, and PNG would have to take the lead.

PNG officials have been tasked with working on concept papers for the force after the issue was discussed at the Melanesian Spearhead Group summit in the PNG Highlands town of Goroka.

Mr Kimisopa says Melanesian countries are sharing a lot of information, but he says there are problems with the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary.

Mr Kimisopa says once the institutional structure of the PNG police is strengthened, and there's a call for them to go and serve in Africa, Europe or anywhere, they can just jump on the plane and move.

He says Fiji is 20 or 30 years ahead of PNG in terms of regional and overseas deployment, but it doesn't have the pressing domestic issues that PNG has.