30 Mar 2005

Australia's foreign minister says no apology needed for airport search of PNG prime minister

10:13 am on 30 March 2005

Australia's Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, says there is no need for an apology for an incident in which Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, was asked to remove his shoes during a Brisbane Airport security check.

Sir Michael is to make a formal complaint to the Australian government about his treatment by airport security officials last Thursday while in transit to PNG from a regional summit in Auckland.

He said the request to remove his shoes was an insult to leadership in the Pacific and something to which Australian leaders visiting PNG were not subjected.

But Mr Downer says measures such as Australia's non-discriminatory security systems at airports were now "the way of the world" and visitors from other countries should understand that in these times.