“Papua New Guinea does not have the resources to resettle the 916 refugees and asylum seekers currently in the Australian-run Manus Island detention facility, the country’s prime minister, Peter O’Neill, has warned.
O’Neill addressed journalists at the National Press Club in Canberra on Thursday, answering questions on a wide array of subjects, including the controversial detention centre.
He flagged that there are a number of issues to resolve before the resettlement of refugees can take place.
“Who is going to pay for it? Certainly the PNG government does not have the resources to resettle the refugees,” he said. “We are also reassessing the numbers who are supposed to be resettled.”
Prior to the 2013 federal election, the then prime minister, Kevin Rudd, finalised a deal with the PNG government to resettle refugees who had intended to come to Australia. The two-page agreement offers few details on how many people will be resettled or how long the Manus Island detention centre will remain open.
So far it is believed that only six refugees have been resettled in the country. The Australian Department of Immigration would not disclose the exact number and said it was a matter for the PNG government.”
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