6 Aug 2013

Solomons rejects Canberra's bid to take Australia's asylum seekers

1:31 pm on 6 August 2013

The prime minister of Solomon Islands says he has rejected Australia's informal request to take some of Australia's asylum seekers.

Speaking in Fiji, Gordon Darcy Lilo says a deal similiar to the one in place with Papua New Guinea was put to him in last month's talks with Australia's foreign minister, Bob Carr.

However, Mr Carr said after meeting Mr Lilo in Honiara that the prime minister didn't raise the issue.

Mr Lilo says Australia cannot invent a so-called Pacific Solution without first consulting regional leaders.

He also says asylum seekers made a choice to go to Australia and not to go to Papua New Guinea or Solomons, adding that Australia must respect the rights of asylum seekers as stipulated under the UN Charter.

Under a revised policy, Australia says people applying for asylum after arriving by boat will be settled abroad, should they be classified as refugees.

Canberra has signed up PNG and Nauru for this policy, but the terms of the deals are unclear and keep being disputed.