25 Jul 2013

Australia eyes Solomons for asylum seeker detention

5:02 am on 25 July 2013

The Australian government is poised for discussions with the government of Solomon Islands on bringing that country into its offshore processing system for refugees.

A new agreement between the prime ministers of Australia and Papua New Guinea to resettle asylum seekers has been widely criticised, with academics saying it violates the UN Refugee Convention.

In the early 2000s when Australia first began processing its asylum seekers abroad, it initially approached a large number of Pacific countries, including Kiribati and Tuvalu.

The Australian foreign minister, Bob Carr, who is in the Solomon Islands capital Honiara for the celebration of a decade of the Regional Assistance Mission, says he arrived ready to discuss the matter.

"If Solomons wanted to raise it and the Prime Minister didn't raise it but he said himself that it was something that could be talked about in the future. (Asked if they'll be talking about it:) Well, if they see an advantage in it and if we think it's appropriate at the time."