7 Jul 2010

Nauru signals readiness to hold Australia's asylum seekers again

5:45 pm on 7 July 2010

The government of Nauru has signalled that it would be prepared to reopen its Australian-run detention facilities as Canberra plans to set up a new offshore camp for asylum seekers.

The new Australian prime minister, Julia Gillard, says in a bid to fight people smuggling she has been in talks with East Timor and New Zealand about her initiative to send boatpeople to what she has called a regional processing centre.

Nauru's caretaker President, Marcus Stephen, says his government fully support a regional approach.

He also says it would be remiss of Nauru if it didn't at least keep an open mind to any possible approach for assistance from Australia.

He says Nauru's previous role in assisting Australia in the processing of asylum seekers between 2001 and early 2008 is indicative of the mutual respect the two countries have for each other.

Ms Gillard has, however, said she won't oversee a return to the policy which sent boatpeople to Nauru and Papua New Guinea.