31 May 2011

Solomons government wanted military presence in Melanesia for asylum seekers

9:53 am on 31 May 2011

The Solomon Islands government has confirmed it offered to help Australia to process asylum seekers.

The Prime Minister Danny Philip says it would have offered Stirling Island on the border between Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

His press secretary David Tuhanuku says the government's thinking was that Australia, and possibly New Zealand, could have helped to improve the security situation on the border.

"It was willing to offer that island to the Australian government not only for the purpose of processing asylum seekers, but they could also discuss the possibility of some military presence on Stirling Island which would provide stability to that volatile area."

David Tuhanuku says the government saw an opportunity to secure a military presence in Western Melanesia as the Regional Assistance Mission scaled down.

He says the Prime Minister is disappointed by reports Australia considers Solomon Islands too unstable and fragile to assist with the asylum seeker issue.