7 Jun 2004

Australia and PNG tentatively agree over immunity impasse

7:52 am on 7 June 2004

Australia and Papua New Guinea have reached a tentative agreement which may allow the long delayed deployment of Australian police and officials to PNG.

The Foreign Ministers of both countries met on Friday in Port Moresby to try to settle the impasse which arose over Australia's request that its personnel have immunity from PNG law.

As our correspondent in PNG, Peter Niesi, reports, the Ministers are to put a draft proposal to their respective Governments allowing for concurrent jurisdiction.

He says in the event of one of the Australian officers being charged, a steering committee, involving officials from both governments, would decide what to do.

"If an Australian policeman is involved in a crime of any sort, the prosecution will be done in Australia, within Australian jurisdiction, but in close consultation with the PNG counterparts so that justice is done and seen to be done to satisfy both governments."