22 Sep 2004

PNG leader concerned about Australia threat spillover

1:17 pm on 22 September 2004

A Papua New Guinea political leader says Australia should not use Papua New Guinea as a buffer zone against terrorist threats, which have increased since Australia's role in the war on Iraq.

The acting president of the National Alliance Party, Simon Kaiwi, says PNG should not pay for Australia's decision to join the war in Iraq by spending scarce government funds on securing its borders against threats to Australia.

In a letter to the Post Courier newspaper, Mr Kaiwi said PNG's many domestic concerns were more pressing than meeting Australia's security requirements, which he said had increased since its decision to join US led coalition of the willing.

Australia and PNG have a new cooperation agreement but which is being questioned by a former PNG prime minister Sir Julius Chan.

Sir Julius says PNG has come full circle since independence 29 years ago, with the enhanced cooperation program now jeopardising the country's sovereignty.

He said while PNG needed help to fight lawlessness and corruption, it was important to remember that Australia was acting primarily in its own interests.