27 Apr 2005

Somare asks people of PNG to put search insult issue behind them

2:40 pm on 27 April 2005

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, has moved to tone down the diplomatic dispute with Australia.

He has told parliament that he is appealing for the people of PNG not to pursue the issue further, saying he was still unhappy over his treatment by Brisbane Airport security staff but the issue should be resolved at the diplomatic level.

Last month, security officers asked him to remove his shoes during a customs check when he was transiting through Brisbane.

The incident sparked a series of protests in PNG but Australia has refused to apologise.

Sir Michael said if the Australian government had said sorry to indigenous people in Australia, they would say sorry in this case.

And Sir Michael asked the people in PNG to show respect and good attitudes to people of other attitudes and culture whose minds and thoughts might not be good.