Interior Minister Says Refugee Decision Pending

Interior Minister Sar Kheng said over the weekend that there was still no arrival date set for a group of four refugees who have volunteered to resettle in Cambodia and are reportedly being held in northern Australia pending their trip here.

The Rohingya man and three Iranians were among the hundreds of refugees Australia is holding on the South Pacific island of Nauru and the first to sign up for a deal Canberra and Phnom Penh struck last year to move as many of them as possible to Cambodia.

The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network said the four were moved from Nauru to Darwin about a week ago, according to the Australian Associated Press.

When asked on Saturday when the refugees would be arriving in Cambodia, at a ceremony marking the anniversary of the founding of the National Police in Phnom Penh, Mr. Kheng’s only answer was “not yet.”

On the sidelines of the same event, immigration chief Sok Phal also said that there was still no decision on whether to accept the refugees’ applications.

Ouk Kimlekh, an undersecretary of state at the Interior Ministry, said ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak was presently in Australia but claimed that he was only there to receive medical attention.

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