19 Jun 2006

PNG says it'll stop processing refugees for Australia

3:54 pm on 19 June 2006

The Papua New Guinea government says it's no longer processing refugees for Australia.

This is despite reports last week that Australia intends to deport three Papuan asylum seekers to PNG without dealing with their claims.

The three Papuans have been detained on an island in the Torres Strait by Australian authorities after arriving from PNG by boat in early May.

But the PNG Prime Minister's spokesperson, Betha Somare, says a previous agreement between the government and Australia on the processing of illegal migrants no longer applies.

"They came through Papua new Guinea but they're not wanting to stay in PNG, they were heading for Australia. So as far as we are concerned, it's not a PNG problem. They're on Australian soil, so that's for Australia to settle. What I also understand is that Australia is looking at processing them in PNG. The Prime Minister is saying that we're no longer processing refugees for Australia."

PNG Prime Minister's spokesperson, Betha Somare