Australia to Accept First Transfer under Refugee Swap with U.S.
Australian authorities are gearing up to take in about 30 asylum seekers from Central America in the next couple of months, sources told Reuters.
This would be the first transfer under the U.S.-Australia refugee deal, which the former U.S. administration agreed with the government in Canberra and President Donald Trump has since denounced as “dumb.”
According to Reuters, a first group of about 30 asylum seekers from El Salvador who have been held by the U.S. in Costa Rica will be flown to Australia within the next few weeks. “The group have been vetted and will likely move in the (northern hemisphere) fall,” one source told the news agency.
Meanwhile, the Australian foreign minister, Julie Bishop, rejected allegations by the head of U.N. refugee agency that her country dodged a deal to relocate refugees from Australia’s offshore camps.
“The Turnbull government’s position has been clear and consistent throughout, and that is that those who seek to come to Australia illegally – who pay people smugglers that are criminal networks and have then gone to regional processing centers – will not be resettled in Australia,” said Bishop.
E.U. Says Turkey Deal Working Fine as Relations Sour
European officials continue to insist that the E.U.-Turkey deal on the settlement of refugees is working fine and should be continued, even as Turkey’s relations with Europe further deteriorate.
“One must say in many areas daily cooperation works better than the rhetoric and some of Turkey’s actions might make one assume,” the E.U.’s neighborhood policy and enlargement minister, Johannes Hahn, said.
Germany earlier raised the possibility of suspending aid payments to Turkey after the latter’s recent arrest of prominent international human rights activists, including a German citizen.
Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, escalated his tough rhetoric ahead of the latest talks with E.U. officials over the terms of the migrant deal. “The West wants Turkey to bring about their demands no questions asked … I am sorry to say [that] that Turkey no longer exists,” Erdogan told members of his party in Ankara.
Italy Irritated by Macron’s Intervention in Libya
Italian government officials reportedly feel snubbed by the new French prime minister’s efforts to broker peace in Libya and curb migrants taking the Central Mediterranean route to Italy.
“[Emmanuel] Macron wants to be much more involved in Libya. That is fine, but he has brushed us away. We were not consulted,“ said an Italian diplomat, according to Reuters.
The Libyan coast guard said it found some 278 migrants off the coast of two different towns on Monday. The majority of the asylum seekers were from sub-Saharan African countries.
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