PAPUA New Guinea's newly elected leader is willing to negotiate with Australia to open a detention centre for asylum seekers on Manus Island.
Prime Minister Peter O'Neill said it was a tragedy when boatloads of people sank, pledging PNG would help Australia tackle what amounted to a regional problem.
The statement was issued after a review headed by former Defence Force chief Angus Houston called for Australia to immediately seek to open a centre on Manus Island.
Mr O'Neill said last year he was willing to re-open the Manus Island centre that operated during the Howard government era as part of the so-called Pacific Solution.
The last refugee on Manus Island, Aladdin Sisalem, left in 2004 after spending 10 months as the sole detainee.
The negotiations with PNG that coincided with Labor's push for a refugee swap with Malaysia last year stalled during the constitutional crisis that engulfed the country.
An army mutiny and a police rebellion followed a High Court decision to declare Mr O'Neill had seized power unconstitutionally. Australia had expressed concern over the turmoil in PNG, with Foreign Minister Bob Carr sparking a diplomatic storm by threatening sanctions.
Asked if opening an asylum seeker centre in PNG would curb Australia's ability to pressure PNG, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said she would continue to raise concerns over political events in the country.
But she said it was ''different days'' in the country since Mr O'Neill's recent election win.
Mr O'Neill said in a statement the Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Rimbink Pato would be in charge of talks with Australia. He also said the Manus provincial government would be consulted so the views of the Manus people were taken into account.