25 Aug 2012

PNG says re-opening asylum seeker detention camps is about helping Australia

10:22 am on 25 August 2012

Papua New Guinea's Foreign Minister says his government's decision to reopen an asylum seeker detention camp for Australia in Manus province is about helping a friend and providing humanitarian assistance to those in need.

PNG officials have been finalising arrangements with counterparts from Canberra over the reopening of a detention facility.

The minister, Rimbink Pato, says the cabinet sees reopening Manus as a humanitarian response to a major loss of life, with over 600 deaths at sea in the last three years among asylum seekers trying to reach Australia.

He says PNG wants to help Australia address what they consider to be a regional issue.

"And the PNG foreign policy is to make ourselves more important in the world and more so in the Pacific region.And we want to open ourselves to opportunities where our people can obtain employment, incomes. So from a business angle, this is an opportunity that is opening up on a location like Manus where they don't have much of an economy."

PNG's Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato.