Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Aus refugee plan in limbo

Aus refugee plan in limbo

Julie Bishop and Hun Sen
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (R) speaks to Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop (L) during a meeting at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh on February 22, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ TANG CHHIN SOTHY

Aus refugee plan in limbo

Cambodia has not yet made a decision on a controversial proposal to take in refugees from any of Australia’s offshore detention centres, the interior minister said this morning.

Speaking at the opening of two new general directorates within the Ministry of Interior charged with handling immigration issues and the provision of identity documents, Interior Minister Sar Kheng said he is still “considering” the proposal.

“Until now we have not decided yet,” Kheng told reporters.

“It is being [considered] but no decision has been made at all."

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop made the request during talks in Phnom Penh in February, according to Cambodian officials.

Earlier this month, Australia’s Immigration Minister Scott Morrison made a surprise visit to Phnom Penh, where he had a closed-door meeting with Kheng. The details of the meeting were not disclosed.

In an interview with Fairfax Media in Australia yesterday, Morrison said a country's economic capacity is irrelevant to his planned expansion of a “club” of nations to take refugees.

“Without mentioning names, when you have a country that’s willing to be engaged in it, an experienced country that is willing to sponsor it and a third country that is a signatory country like Nauru that is also party to all of this . . . That would seem to be a positive thing and something that should be encouraged,” he said.

Julie Bishop and Hun Sen
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (R) speaks to Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop (L) during a meeting at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh on February 22, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ TANG CHHIN SOTHY

MOST VIEWED

  • Construction begins on $1.5B Kampot seaport

    The International Multi-Purpose Logistics and Port Centre, principally invested by Kampot Logistics and Port Co Ltd and projected to cost $1.5 billion, has officially broken ground in Bokor town, Kampot province. The multi-purpose logistics and port centre, located in Prek Tnaot commune, will be built on

  • Cambodia eyes key role in electronics, auto hubs in SEA

    Two roadmaps, part of the LDC’s economic diversification plan, were designed to see it through its migration process, but experts say the journey might be arduous, particularly in the presence of two established hubs in the region By 2028, Cambodia hopes to have exited the

  • Hun Neng, lawmaker and PM’s brother, passes away aged 72

    Hun Neng, chairman of the 4th Commission of the National Assembly, has passed away from heart disease at the age of 72 on the afternoon of May 5, according to the Ministry of Information. Hun Neng is the older brother of Prime Minister Hun Sen, and was

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM meets with US business giants

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has met with a number of major US companies who have expressed interest in investing in Cambodia, in a meeting convened by the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC). A delegation of companies – including Amazon, Meta, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Ford, Visa and Pernod

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180