15 Jul 2010

Nauru still keen to reopen refugee centre

11:10 am on 15 July 2010

Nauru's Foreign Minister says his Government would sign the UN refugee convention soon and if asked, host a regional processing facility for asylum seekers.

The Australian Government has put forward a proposal for a centre, and is in talks with East Timor but said it would consider other countries if they are signatories to the convention.

Australia's opposition said the Government should reopen the detention centre on Nauru if it is serious about offshore processing for asylum seekers.

Nauru housed asylum seekers for seven years from 2001 at a camp run by the previous Australian Government under its so called Pacific Solution.

To date Australia has firmly ruled out re-opening the Nauru camp but Dr Kieren Keke says his Government is more than willing to consider an approach.

"If there was a request for Nauru to participate in terms of hosting a processing facility for the region we would certainly be looking at that favourably."

Dr Kieren Keke.