22 Aug 2005

New talks could be held tomorrow over Australian police programme in PNG

7:10 am on 22 August 2005

New efforts to resurrect Australia's police assistance programme to Papua New Guinea could get underway this week.

Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer is expected to fly to Port Moresby tomorrow for further talks with

PNG's Foreign Minister, Sir Rabbie Namaliu.

More than 100 Australian police were pulled out of PNG in May after PNG's Supreme Court ruled that an agreement between the two governments to grant Australian officers immunity from prosecution was in breach of the constitution.

The Australian government has insisted such protection is needed.

A spokesman for Mr Downer says intense negotiations between the two sides were continuing.

The Australian Associated Press says a possible new arrangement could see Australian police officers being less engaged in front-line duties and acting more in advisory roles.