6 Nov 2008

PNG's prime minister to meet with his Australian counterpart

11:47 am on 6 November 2008

The Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, will brief his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd on Fiji when the pair meet in Sydney on Thursday.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Sir Michael is in Australia on a private visit and will also give a lecture to think tank the Lowy Institute in Sydney on Friday.

In August, Somare offered PNG as a venue to discuss whether Fiji should be expelled from the Pacific Islands Forum.

Fiji boycotted this year's forum leaders' meeting, claiming it was denied entry to post-forum talks some countries had arranged in Auckland.

A spokeswoman for the Australian prime minister said the leaders would discuss "common interests".

She says Mr Rudd will seek Prime Minister Somare's assessment of developments in Fiji.

The spokeswoman says it is expected the two PMs will also discuss the impact of the global financial crisis on PNG, and progress on the Australia-PNG Forest Partnership.

The partnership was signed earlier this year to reduce forest degradation in response to climate change.