17 Dec 2005

Australia says police could return to PNG by end of March

8:25 am on 17 December 2005

The Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, says Australian police could return to Papua New Guinea by the end of March.

Australian and PNG ministers met on the Gold Coast yesterday to discuss the Enhanced Cooperation Programme, known as the ECP.

Australian police would undertake roles such as anti-corruption advisers to local police officers as well as train in police prosecutions and forensics.

The PNG Foreign Affairs Minister Sir Rabbie Namaliu agreed there were issues that needed to be resolved.

The ECP stalled earlier this year when more than 150 Australian police were withdrawn from PNG after their legal immunity was ruled invalid by the country's Supreme Court.