20 Mar 2007

Australia warns PNG over Moti report action

2:38 pm on 20 March 2007

Australia has warned that its joint ministerial forum with Papua new Guinea would be cancelled this year if action is not taken to prosecute those involved in the illegal flight of Julian Moti to Honiara.

The PNG newspaper, The National, reports that Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer issued the warning during a keynote speech at the Australia-PNG Business Forum in Cairns yesterday.

Mr Downer said that once the report of the PNG Defence Board of Inquiry was published, Australia expected some people to be brought to justice.

The final report on the inquiry was handed over to the Prime Minister's office last Friday, but lawyers representing the Prime Minister are going to court to annul the entire inquiry.

An annulment would result in Mr Downer threat being carried out, and sources said other sanctions may follow.

Meanwhile, PNG's Deputy Prime Minister Don Polye says that the Government would be careful about making the report public or implementing its recommendations.

He says the inquiry headed by Justice Gibbs Salika had stepped out of line and its credibility was questioned.