11 May 2012

Australia Foreign Minister ask Vanuatu to reconsider police expulsion

7:21 am on 11 May 2012

The Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr is calling on Vanuatu to reconsider its decision to expel Australian police advisors.

The Australian Federal Police officers left the country yesterday, a day after the Vanuatu government gave them 24 hours to get out or face arrest.

The threat came two weeks after the AFP arrested a senior Vanuatu official, Clarence Marae, while he was passing through Sydney airport with the country's Prime Minister, Sato Kilman, en route to Israel.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says it is disappointed Vanuatu had decided to expel the officers in retaliation for Mr Marae's arrest.

But the Vanuatu government says their concern was what they saw as a breach of protocol in the treatment of the prime minister.

The Australian government says Mr Kilman was treated with respect and dignity during the ordeal but Vanuatu has expressed anger that he was forced to fill in an immigration form.

Senator Carr says he hopes Vanuatu, as a close friend, reconsiders.

He says it is in Vanuatu's interests, with Canberra providing substantial assistance to the country's police.

Mr Marae was charged with conspiring to defraud Australia on charges extending back ten years.