18 Oct 2005

Australian government says no official engagements with PNG prime minister

11:23 am on 18 October 2005

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, will address Australia's National Press Club today but will not have any official engagements with the government.

Sir Michael had been due to arrive in Australia on an official visit earlier this month but had to cancel it due to illness.

His present visit will not have official status because the Australian government was not able to accommodate the new dates suggested by PNG.

The visit comes as PNG considers a deal from Australia to resurrect a policing programme on the island.

The two countries have been working to salvage the Enhanced Cooperation Programme which collapsed after a PNG court rejected immunity for Australian police officers serving with and training PNG police.