14 Feb 2007

PNG foreign minister says ambassador should stop passing the buck over visas

2:38 pm on 14 February 2007

Papua New Guinea's ambassador to China, Max Rai, is continuing to refuse to return home immediately despite being recalled and charged with offences over visas.

PNG's Foreign Minister, Paul Tiensten, says they need to restore credibility to the embassy in Beijing and they are facing a big problem over the influx of illegal Chinese to the country.

The ambassador has alleged that the problem is with immigration in PNG but Mr Tiensten says while this is part of it, the major issue is what's happening at the embassy over the handing out of visas inappropriately.

The minister says Mr Rai continues to defy orders to return immediately to Port Moresby.

"What he said, was as soon as the government of China grants their agreement for our new ambassador to take office, he will then formally leave but I think we would want him to leave right now."

Mr Tiensten says he is working to beef up the capacity of the immigration offices to handle the job and step up the monitoring and compliance.