29 Jan 2015

PNG PM says most asylum seekers economic opportunists

8:14 am on 29 January 2015

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister says he believes most asylum seekers being held at the Australia-run detention centre on Manus Island are economic opportunists whose claims will be rejected.

In an interview with the ABC, Peter O'Neill said his government believes most of the asylum seekers at the centre are not genuine, saying a substantial number will be returned to their home countries within weeks.

Mr O'Neill said the PNG government was negotiating with those countries -- from which the asylum seekers had fled -- saying he was hopeful those countries would care about their citizens and not persecute them.

Mr O'Neill said a recent hunger strike and blockade at the centre was fuelled by detainees' anger at drawn-out processing periods.