Prime Minister Hun Sen is still willing to accept refugees waiting in line to enter Australia, despite the expiration of an agreement last year.
“During a meeting with outgoing Australian Ambassador [Angela Cororon], Prime Minister Hun Sen said Cambodia is willing to continue the agreement,” Eat Sophea, secretary of state with the Foreign Ministry, yesterday said of a meeting that took place on Monday. “The cooperation between governments may have ended, but we have cooperation between immigration departments.”
Ms Cororan then met with Interior Minister Sar Kheng yesterday and said the deal on refugee settlement expired last year.
“The agreement finished since September last year,” she said. “It won’t continue because the agreement said it ended in 2018.”
Both governments signed a controversial MoU in September 2014 for the resettlement of refugees from Nauru.
The agreement sparked criticism from rights groups who said Cambodia has a weak record on refugees. They also accused Australia of failing to meet its international obligations by deporting asylum seekers.