16 Mar 2004

Australia's Foreign Minister says progress has been made over immunity for Australian police in PNG

12:36 pm on 16 March 2004

Australia's Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, said a meeting with his counterpart from PNG had come up with new ways to get around a stalemate over the deployment of Australian police.

Canberra wants its personnel to be immune from local legal proceedings while stationed in PNG.

They want any alleged wrong doing to be heard in an Australian court.

PNG has previously rejected any form of immunity for Australian police offices and other officials.

But the Australian Associated Press quotes Mr Downer as saying that talks with Sir Rabbie Namaliu in Sydney had resulted in a number of new possibilities for moving forward with the deployment.

He said they had come up with new ideas which officials are now going to go away and work on.

Mr Downer said the shooting death of an Australian pilot in the Highlands yesterday showed the seriousness of the law and order problems facing the country.