7 Sep 2004

Downer says Vanuatu could have its foreign aid cut if it throws police out of the country

8:15 pm on 7 September 2004

The Australian newspaper, the Herald Sun quotes the Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer saying that Vanuatu could be stripped of aid if it throws two Australian Federal police out of the country.

Mr Downer said the Government's decision was unfortunate and could cost the struggling nation valuable foreign aid.

He says the Federal police are not spies as the new Government claimed during the recent election.

Mr Downer says the AFP officers have been working with the transnational crime unit in the Vanuatu police force, dealing with problems like narcotics trafficking and money laundering.