Sydney (dpa) Nov 5, 2017- Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Sunday that while he appreciates New Zealand’s offer to resettle refugees currently on Nauru and Papua New Guinea (PNG)’s Manus Island, he will “not be taking it up at this time.”
Hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers have spent the past four years in Australian-run immigration detention centres in the two Pacific countries.
Turnbull made the comments after holding bilateral talks with newly-elected New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern, who was in Sydney for a one-day visit.
The offer, first made in 2013, has been rejected by Canberra in the past. Turnbull said a refugee resettlement deal with the United States, which will take up to 1,250 people, was the priority.
“In the wake of that obviously we can consider other ones,” he said.
Only 54 people have been resettled in the US so far.