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Commitment to Oz refugee deal confirmed

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Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhon(L) shakes hands with Australian senator Concetta Fierravanti after a meeting yesterday in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

Commitment to Oz refugee deal confirmed

Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhonn yesterday reaffirmed Cambodia’s commitment to a controversial agreement with Australia to accept refugees.

Sokhonn told Autralian Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells in a meeting that Cambodia will continue implementing the memorandum of understanding that was signed in September 2014.

Under the A$55 million deal, Cambodia agreed to accept an unspecified number of refugees held by Australia on Nauru Island if they volunteer to resettle.

Ministry spokesman Chum Sounry said after the meeting that there are no plans for more refugees to arrive, despite previous reports of two interested volunteers.

“HE Prak Sokhonn reaffirmed that Cambodia keeps implementing the deal … But until now there is no information about any new refugees,” he said.

However, two refugees – one from Syria and one Rohingya from Myanmar – had expressed interest in resettlement, Interior Ministry immigration department spokesman Kerm Sarin confirmed yesterday, adding that he was not informed about any cancellation of their resettlement plan.

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