6 Feb 2008

Formal talks on closure of Nauru detention centre underway this week

8:39 am on 6 February 2008

Formal talks begin this week on the planned shut down of the camp housing asylum seekers on Nauru, with the island's government pushing to ensure it does not damage its already fragile economy.

The Rudd Government signalled soon after coming to power that it would quickly close the camp and that process is now underway, with just a handful of refugees left there.

Nauru is concerned about the economic impact because the camp has been providing around 20 percent of the island's income through the dozens of jobs filled by locals.

Foreign Minister, Dr Kieren Keke, says they have already had preliminary talks but formal discussions are opening this week with two Australian officials visiting the island.

"And I have been in correspondence with Australia's Foreign Minister and looking to meet with him, and also have invited him to visit Nauru so that he can see first hand the issues we are talking about."