Refugee Deal Won’t Be Made Formal

Refugee deal 'won't be made formal'

The West Australian
20th April 2007, 10:20 WST

“The arrangement does not create legal obligations.

“The arrangement does not call for an exchange or a swap of individuals and no person … who is referred would be forced to accept a resettlement.”

A spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews said Mr McCormick's comments were among the original terms of the agreement and did not diminish the deal.

“It's an agreement, in principle, that the prospective nations came to,” she said.

“This is an agreement that we have come to and we are happy with the agreement.

“We will not be attempting to make this deal legally binding, the comments by the United States reflect exactly the comments that we have made and the joint understanding of the arrangement.”

Under the deal, announced this week, refugees held at Guantanamo Bay could be resettled in Australia, while asylum seekers intercepted en route to Australia and sent to Nauru would be resettled in the United States.

Up to 200 asylum seekers could be exchanged from each country per year under the scheme.

The 83 Sri Lankans and eight Burmese currently having their asylum claims processed on Nauru are likely to be the first considered for exchange.