10 Jul 2010

Solomon Islands would view asylum proposal with caution - Foreign Affairs Minister

9:49 am on 10 July 2010

The Solomon Islands government says it would view any proposal by the Australian government to establish a regional processing centre there for refugees with caution.

Following reports of talks between Australia and East Timor about setting up a centre there, the Australian Prime Minister has told the Age newspaper that only signatories to the United Nations refugee convention - of which Solomon Islands is one - will be considered.

Australian-run refugee processing centres in Papua New Guinea and Nauru closed after seven years in 2008 but Nauru has indicated interest in re-opening its facility.

The Solomon Islands Foreign Affairs Minister, William Haomae, says Cabinet would consider any formal request from Australia to set up a centre.

"But the general understanding is that the Pacific Solution in terms of asylum seekers, especially the ones in Nauru, did not work, it did not provide the solution to that particular issue so we will be looking at it from that particular perspective."

The Solomon Islands Foreign Minister, William Haomae.