27 Nov 2006

Australia eases travel restrictions imposed on PNG leaders over Moti affair

1:05 pm on 27 November 2006

Australia says there are now no obstacles to Papua New Guinea ministers attending a mining and petroleum investment conference due to be held in early December in Sydney.

The move marks a significant loosening of restrictions on travel by PNG officals to Australia

It follows Papua New Guinea's move to stand down officials believed to be involved in the flight from PNG of Solomon Islands Attorney-General Julian Moti, wanted by Australia on historical child-sex allegations.

Australia had suspended ministerial contacts with PNG in October over the Moti affair, forcing the prime minster, Sir Michael Somare, to fly to the Pacific Islands Forum summit through Honiara.

Now Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer says he wants to meet his PNG counterpart, Paul Tiensten.

Australia has also clarified that police from PNG are free to travel to Australia for a RAMSI induction course prior to serving as part of the Solomons Island mission.

PNG had suggested its police would end their links with RAMSI if its officers could not travel to Australia for training.