28 Feb 2007

PNG's Pangu Party decides to stay with ruling coalition

2:49 pm on 28 February 2007

A threat to the governing coalition in Papua New Guinea has disappeared with the Pangu Party reconfirming its support.

Pangu Party MPs met after one member, Martin Aini, was dumped as defence minister for revealing that prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, had pressured him to close down the inquiry into Australian fugitive Julian Moti's flight from the country.

The inquiry had found that Sir Michael must have known about Mr Moti's clandestine flight aboard a defence force plane.

Our correspondent, Alex Rheeney, reports the party met yesterday (monday) and that party leader Sir Rabbie Namaliu, says, they respect the right of the prime minister to sack a minister and that they will stay in government.

"Sir Rabbie went on to say that minister Martin Aini stood firm on his decision to maintain the defence force board of inquiry on principles. While they regret his sacking they say that the prime minister has the prerogative so they will move on."

Alex Rheeney