22 Dec 2004

PNG snubs Australia over army roles

4:27 pm on 22 December 2004

Papua New Guinea has ruled out Australian officers taking command positions in the Defence Force.

Australia's Defence Minister, Robert Hill, announced last week that four officers would be sent assist the PNGDF.

He said at the time that next month one officer would be posted as deputy commander of the Defence Force's training command and another would start work on policy issues within the Department of Defence.

A year later two more officers would be appointed as deputy commanders in the logistics and personnel divisions.

Senator Hill said the move was party of efforts to transform the PNGDF into a more professional and effective fighting force.

But local newspaper, the National, says the officers will only work in an advisory role.

It quotes the Chief of Staff, Captain Tom Ur, as saying it is not possible for them to take up army position because it would infringe on PNG's sovereignty.