15 Apr 2005

Apology for PNG PM from Brisbane airport

3:41 pm on 15 April 2005

The Brisbane Airport Authority has apologised to Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister for subjecting him to security checks that sparked a diplomatic row between Australia and PNG.

The airport authority said it was sorry for any embarrassment and inconvenience it could have caused Sir Michael Somare.

The Post Courier newspaper reports that is is the first reconciliatory gesture that could lead to the easing of tensions.

While the Australian government's firm position has been to not apologise, the authority's spokesman Jim Carden says they are prepared to apologise over the March incident but had not received any letter from Sir Michael's office.

Mr Carden says they're aware the matter is being handled diplomatically and are only kept abreast of the issue through media reports.

He says the airport apologises to anybody who takes offence, or finds it embarrassing, humiliating or invasive, through the security processes that have been established.

However, Mr Carden says the airport doesn't make any apology for the absolute application of these policies.