29 Oct 2008

PNG reopens Cairns consulate as relations warm

1:39 pm on 29 October 2008

Papua New Guinea's prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, has confirmed the reopening of its consulate in the Australian city of Cairns.

Addressing a sitting of the Queensland parliament, Sir Michael called for a rebirth of Papua New Guinea/Australia ties.

This comes after cool period between the two countries which saw Canberra suspend ministerial ties two years ago over Sir Michael's stance in the Moti affair.

Sir Michael has now signed a memorandum of understanding with Queensland on business cooperation.

He says ties should be deepened and encourages airlines to add more direct flights from Queensland to Mount Hagen, Gurney and Kokopo.

Sir Michael says his officials should look into a possible programme for retired Queensland teachers and nurses to go to PNG.