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Australia to Consider New Zealand's Refugee Deal

Australia to Consider New Zealand's Refugee Deal

Saturday, 18 November, 2017 - 07:15
An undated image released November 13, 2017 shows detainees staging a protest inside the compound at the Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea. Refugee Action Coalition/Handout via REUTERS

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he was open to New Zealand's offer to welcome some refugees who are having clashes with authorities in Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.

More than 400 refugees have been in Manus in an Australian-run camp for more than two weeks and have refused to move to new temporary housing in the main town for fear of violence from local residents.

The camp was shut on October 31 after the Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea said it was unconstitutional and all food, water and energy were cut off.

"It is possible and may happen in the future," Turnbull said in an interview with Melbourne's 3AW radio station on Friday, referring to New Zealand's offer, but added that it was not a near-term possibility.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern strongly criticized Australia's handling of the closure of the Manus center and offered $1.8 million to provide basic services to refugees and asylum seekers in Manus and Nauru.

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