13 Feb 2013

Australia police to return to Vanuatu

6:57 pm on 13 February 2013

Australian Federal Police are set to resume their training programme in Vanuatu nine months after they were expelled as part of a diplomatic row.

Vanuatu expelled 12 AFP officers last May after the AFP arrested one of its officials, Clarence Marae, while he was passing through Sydney airport with the Prime Minister Sato Kilman.

At the time, Mr Kilman described Marae's arrest as kidnap and breach of diplomatic protocol.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade labelled the expulsion a retaliation for Mr Marae's arrest.

But the Foreign Minister Bob Carr, on a brief visit to Vanuatu, says the two countries have now struck an agreement that will result in nine AFP officers returning to the country in the next few weeks.

Mr Marae was charged over allegations he was involved in a 4.5 million US dollar tax fraud.

He remains in custody after a Brisbane court denied him bail because it judged him to be a flight risk.