7 Sep 2004

Vanuatu says Australian police it wants out of the country amount to a rival force

8:17 pm on 7 September 2004

The Vanuatu Government says two Australian Federal police working from an office in Port Vila amount to a rival police force operating in the country.

The officers have been ordered by Foreign Minister Barak Sope to leave Vanuatu..

He says their presence is not covered by the bilateral Defence Agreement, while his Government cannot allow an office outside of the Australian High Commission.

"a normal embassy would have a defence attache or people like this working in the compound, not outside it, because in Vanuatu we have a law that states there is only one police force in the country"

Mr Sope says they support the work the officers have been doing, including in helping Vanautu try and curb trans-national crime.