29 Feb 2008

Complete closure of Australian detention centre on PNG's Manus imminent

4:30 pm on 29 February 2008

Papua New Guinea's Foreign Minister says only logistics remain to be arranged before the closure of Australia's asylum seeker detention centre on Manus Island is complete.

Sam Abal held recent discussions with his Australian counterpart Stephen Smith in Canberra where they agreed to close the centre which has housed no detainees since 2004.

When it came to power late last year Australia's Labor Government signalled its intent to close down detention facilities on Manus and on Nauru.

The centres were set up under the previous Howard government's so-called Pacific Solution for keeping asylum seekers in foreign camps.

Mr Abal says PNG had also been looking to end the Manus facility.

"There are just the logistics of closing down the premises itself. Because some equipment and buildings there need to be disbursed for the community and schools and some assistance to provincial government and that type of thing. But for all purposes, it's closed."

Sam Abal