1 Apr 2005

PNG still demands Australian apology over security incident

1:41 pm on 1 April 2005

Papua New Guinea says it's still waiting for an apology from the Australian Government over an airport incident involving the PNG Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare.

Sir Michael says he was insulted when he was asked to remove his shoes during a security check at Brisbane Airport on his way back to Port Moresby from New Zealand last week.

Australia's Foreign Affairs and Transport Ministers have said there will be no apology.

However, a spokesman for Sir Michael says the Australian High Commissioner in Port Moresby, Mike Potts, has been summoned and relayed a request to Canberra.

The spokesman says they're awaiting a reply from Mr Potts, and want an apology.

Meanwhile, the Australian High Commission in Papua New Guinea is expected to be closed today amid speculation that an even bigger protest march is being planned to present a list of demands in a petition.

Staff at the high commission have been notified to stay away from work while organisers of the march met yesterday to plan a two-pronged march to the Australian High Commission to ask for the removal of High Commissioner, Michael Potts, and an unconditional apology from Canberra.

The petition also calls for the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, to apologise to Sir Michael for the search he was subjected to in Brisbane last week.