30 May 2011

Pacific countries keen to host Australia's asylumseekers - paper

11:31 am on 30 May 2011

Reports from Australia say several Pacific countries have approached Canberra to be part of its plans to revive the processing of asylum seekers offshore.

The Weekend Australian says countries, such as Solomon Islands, want to host Australian detention camps after East Timor rebuffed an Australian bid to host a refugee-processing centre.

However, a spokesman for the Immigration Minister Chris Bowen says the government is not talking to the Solomons about the issue.

Australia ran such centres in Nauru and Papua New Guinea from late 2001 after its navy intercepted a Norwegian freighter that had picked up Australia-bound Middle Eastern boatpeople south of Indonesia.

The newspaper says despite pressure from the opposition to consider a processing centre on Nauru, the government has refused to do so because Nauru has not signed the UN refugee convention.