12 Jul 2010

Issues for Solomon Islands asylum centre different than for Nauru

10:13 am on 12 July 2010

The Solomon Islands Foreign Affairs Minister says the issues around opening a processing centre for asylum seekers in his country are completely different than for Nauru.

Australian-run refugee processing centres in Papua New Guinea and Nauru closed in 2008 but talks of a new centre somewhere in the Pacific have prompted Nauru to indicate interest in re-opening its facility.

Following reports of discussion between Australia and East Timor about setting up a centre there, the Australian Prime Minister has told the Age newspaper that only signatories to the United Nations refugee convention - of which Solomon Islands is one - will be considered.

William Haomae says any proposal to set up a processing centre there would be viewed with caution.

"People here are very fussy about those matters. It is not like Nauru where they are one people, one island and all those. In the Solomon Islands we have the complexity and the diversity in here and those issues will have a lot of implications for our society here, yeah."