Gov’t Still Considering Taking Refugees From Australia

Interior Minister Sar Kheng said Thursday that the government is still considering an Australian government proposal to take in asylum seekers intercepted while trying to reach the country.

Speaking on the sidelines of a ceremony to swear in the heads of the new general departments of immigration and identification, Mr. Kheng said that the Australian and Cambodian governments have yet to secure an agreement.

“Up until now, we haven’t decided yet, [and] I don’t dare answer because it is not my right,” he told reporters when asked about the progress of discussions with Australia.

In a television interview earlier this month, Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said that his government was close to securing a deal that would see Cambodia resettle asylum seekers currently being detained on the South Pacific island nation of Nauru.

Mr. Morrison said in the interview that the processing of the refugees would begin next month.

Asked Thursday whether the government was considering a proposal from Australia, Mr. Kheng said: “You could say that, but there is no decision on anything.”

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