14 Aug 2012

Nauru to help Australia reopen detention centre for asylum seekers

3:01 pm on 14 August 2012

Nauru's President, Sprent Dabwido, says his country has committed to allowing the Australian government to re-open its detention camp for asylum seekers.

This follows a conversation this morning between the president and the Australian prime minister, Julia Gillard.

The formal approach to Nauru came after the release on Monday of the report from the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers.

That report included Nauru as part of the recommendations aimed at alleviating Australia's asylum seeker issue.

President Dabwido says like everybody else in the region Nauruans have been following the people-smuggling and asylum seeker processing issues and are aware this is a difficult issue for Australia.

He says the next step depends on the outcome of legislation the Australian government hopes to get through parliament this week.

Canberra launched its policy of processing asylum seekers abroad in 2001 and has since run centres in Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

At the start of the year, Mr Abbott called for the resumption of off-shore processing and dismissed the government's cost estimate of two billion US dollars to restart the Nauru centre.

At the time, the opposition's immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said the government had gone for a hyped-up, electrified Alcatraz alternative.