17 Oct 2006

PNG leader calls for caution from Australia and Solomons in spat

7:14 pm on 17 October 2006

The deputy prime minister of Papua New Guinea, Don Polye, says appropriate disciplinary action will be taken swiftly against anyone implicated in fugitive Australian lawyer, Julian Moti's secret flight out of the country.

He reaffirmed Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare's statement last week that Mr Moti's departure was not sanctioned by the government and that an internal investigation has been set up to seriously deal with the matter.

On Sunday Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer announced that ministerial contacts between the two countries would be suspended.

Mr Polye says this stance was understandable but regrettable and he cautioned the Australian Government not to overreact.

He says such a move could threaten the long-term stability and security of the region and the cordial bilateral relations currently enjoyed by Papua New Guinea and Australia.

Mr Polye also called on the Solomon Islands Government to be cautious and not take action which may undermine the substantial positive gains already achieved under the RAMSI operations.

He says the long-term interests of the countries concerned are far more important then that of a single individual like Mr Moti, and he hopes common sense will prevail.