1 Aug 2008

PNG's foreign Minister apologises for 'blunder'

7:13 pm on 1 August 2008

Papua New Guinea's Foreign Minister Sam Abal has publicly apologised to Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane for the "protocol blunder" heencountered in New Zealand this week.

Upon arriving at Auckland airport, the PNG Governor General was not welcomed by protocol officers despite New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Ministry being advised of the arrival, and he was forced to go through Customs.

The Post Courier newspaper reports that Mr Abal also publicly apologised about a comment made by PNG's High Commissioner to New Zealand Bernard Narokobi that the trip to Tonga via New Zealand was a "joy ride".

The minister says he is not happy with the High Commissioner and his comments about the Head of State's visit and how he was treated in New Zealand.

The Head of State was on his way to Tonga to witness the coronation of Tonga's King.

Mr Abal says it was an important official trip and there should have been a proper reception for Sir Paulias.