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Nauru refugees expected tomorrow: gov't

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Scott Morrison and Sar Kheng shake hands at the Ministry of Interior in September last year after signing an A$40 million deal to resettle refugees in Cambodia. Heng Chivoan

Nauru refugees expected tomorrow: gov't

The first group of refugees from Nauru to accept resettlement in Cambodia under a controversial agreement signed with Australia last year is expected to arrive tomorrow, according to a government spokesman.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said “if there is no change in plan”, the refugees - one from Myanmar and three from Iran - will arrive in Cambodia tomorrow morning, via a Malaysia Airlines flight.

“To my knowledge, I think that it’s tomorrow morning,” he said.

The four refugees who had previously been held on the Pacific island of Nauru were flown secretly to Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory in early May and have been housed at an immigration facility near the airport ever since.

When they arrive, the refugees will be housed in villa-style accommodation, organised by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

They will also receive “intensive Khmer language and cultural and social orientation”, as well as “education services, health services, [and] employment services”, the IOM said in a statement earlier this month.

An IOM spokesman yesterday said the organisation had “not been told of any arrival date”.

Australia last week stumped up an additional A$15.5 million ($12 million) “for services to support the settlement of refugees in Cambodia, including health, education and training services”.

The money comes on top of an original pledge of A$40 million ($31 million) in aid to Cambodia.

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