8 Aug 2013

No guarantee refugees processed in PNG will become citizens, says PM

6:03 pm on 8 August 2013

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister says there's been a gross misunderstanding that all refugees processed through the new asylum seeker arrangement with Australia will be resettled in PNG.

Under the agreement signed last month by Peter O'Neill and his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd, boat people trying to reach Australia will be sent to PNG's Manus Island for processing but won't be allowed in to Australia.

Mr O'Neill says those subsequently found to be refugees will be considered for resettlement in PNG or elsewhere, regionally.

"It does not mean that everyone who goes to the Manus processing facility will be resettled in PNG. I want to also make it very clear that even giving citizenship to genuine refugees, it must comply with our own laws, and there's a process which applies to non-Papua New Guinean-born persons becoming citizens in our own country."

Peter O'Neill