19 Jul 2010

Pacific regional processing centre could be discussed at ASEAN

11:44 am on 19 July 2010

Australia is still hoping to convince East Timor to house asylum seekers at a Pacific regional processing centre during an ASEAN summit this week.

This week ,19-23 July, foreign ministers are gathering in Vietnam.

Despite bilateral talks, East Timor's Prime Minister has shown little enthusiasm for Australia's proposal.

Lisa Roberts at the Sydney based Lowy Institute for International Policy says Australia prefers East Timor for its proposal.

"From the Australian perspective, East Timor is reportedly the government that is still the key country in their sights. Further discussions will be had in the sidelines during the 43rd Asean summit to be held in Hanoi and I think the Australia government is looking to have very indepth discussions with Indonesia to see if Indonesia would provide more forthcoming support."

Australia's government said it would also consider Pacific countries as long as they're signatories to the UN refugee convention.