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Australia to Trump: Accept refugees or forget our help with Costa Rica

Staff Writer |
Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the government expects the U.S. to accept refugees from Manus Island and Nauru or else it will not accept Central American refugees held in Costa Rica.

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In late January, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said U.S. President Donald Trump agreed during a phone conversation he planned to honor the deal Australia struck with former U.S. President Barack Obama - a deal Trump lambasted as a "bad deal."

Obama struck the deal late last year to accept a number of Indonesian refugees held at camps in Naura and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. In exchange, Australia would take in Central American refugees from Costa Rica.

Initially, Trump suggested he would seek to back away from the deal entirely.

The deal could be disheveled under Trump's policies of "extreme vetting" of refugees, which could lead to the United States refusing to accept any refugees from Australia.

"We wouldn't take anyone until we had assurances that people would get off Nauru and Manus," Dutton told Sky News Australia.

"One of the lessons that we've learned from past arrangements, say the Malaysia deal for example... we accept all the people from Malaysia, not one person went from Australia. So we're not going to be sucked into that sort of a silly outcome."

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