Albania has strenuously denied it is willing to process people crossing the Channel to Britain, after the UK deputy prime minister, Dominic Raab, confirmed that the government is exploring ways of processing asylum seekers abroad.

Edi Rama, the prime minister, said he would “never receive refugees for richer countries”, after a report in the Times suggested Albania would be willing to host an offshore processing centre for people arriving in the UK from France in small boats.

Priti Patel, the home secretary, opened talks on the proposal when she signed an agreement in July for Albania to take back criminals deported from the UK.

Ministers see Australian-style offshore processing centres – to which migrants would be flown within seven days of arriving in the UK – as a key potential deterrent to stem the record surge in Channel crossings. The Home Office is due to confirm that more than 1,000 reached the UK on Tuesday.

However, Rama told Albania’s Top Channel: “Albania will never be a country where very rich countries will set up camps for their refugees. Never.”

Earlier, Albania’s foreign minister, Olta Xhaçka, and its ambassador to the UK, Qirjako Qirko, dismissed the report as a “fake news” .

Raab appeared to give credence to the report by telling Times Radio: “We are looking at international partnerships that can take the processing out of the UK in order to try and reduce the pull factor which means people think they can successfully take advantage of these routes.”

On Sky News later, when Raab was asked if people seeking asylum in the UK would be flown to Albania, he said: “Well that’s one country, but we are willing to look with partners at whether it’s possible to do this international processing.”

But Tirana reacted angrily to the report. Xhaçka tweeted an image of the front page of the Times and said: “Same old fake news this time in the front page of a respected paper as The Times! And btw I am not a ‘he’ but a ‘she’ who has always admired the quality of British media. Sad.”

Qirko said he was “furious” about the report because on Wednesday he had told the Times “at least 10 times that Albania will never, ever agree to this kind of approach regarding immigrants coming from France”.

Speaking to the Guardian, he said: “It is totally fake. They don’t mention a single word regarding the reality and they write what they prefer.

“I’m a lawyer. Albania has no jurisdiction to decide if an immigrant is legal or illegal. The international convention has arranged everything in detail regarding the process of assessing asylum seekers. The British courts will decide, not the Albanian courts.”

In letter of complaint to the Times, Qirko said: “There are no bilateral talks between Albanian and British government officials regarding processing centres for illegal immigrants crossing the English Channel.”

It added: “The Albanian government will never agree to [the] opening of such processing centres for illegal immigrants as this is an act violates the international law.”

Processing asylum seekers abroad was started by Australia, first in Papua New Guinea and now on the Pacific island of Nauru.

Raab, who is also the justice secretary, defended the UK exploring similar ideas.

He told Sky: “I think it’s right, there’s practice around the world in relation to this, to look at these the possibilities of international partnerships for international processing of some of these claims.”

He said the government was trying to stop people crossing the Channel in boats.

Enver Solomon, the chief executive of the Refugee Council, condemned the offshore processing plan as “desperate measure” that was cruel and likely to be ineffective.