30 Sep 2005

PNG prime minister set to meet Australian counterpart

10:15 am on 30 September 2005

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, flies to Canberra next week to meet Prime Minister John Howard following months of diplomatic tension between the two countries.

Relations have been strained this year with the collapse of the Enhanced Cooperation Programme and a diplomatic spat erupting in March when Brisbane airport security staff asked Sir Michael to remove his shoes.

A number of issues are likely to be discussed during Somare's visit but both sides seem keen to clear the air before Mr Howard travels to PNG for the three-day Forum summit in late October.

Sir Michael told reporters that relations between Australia and PNG remained very good despite the squabbles.