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Australia confused by Indonesia boat policy
ChannelNewsAsia ^ | 11/11/2013 | AFP

Posted on 11/11/2013 12:50:12 AM PST by TexGrill

SYDNEY: Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday there was "no rhyme or reason" as to why Indonesia had accepted two boatloads of asylum-seekers picked up by Australian vessels but refused others.

Thousands of asylum-seekers, many from Iran and Afghanistan, board rickety wooden boats in Indonesia every year to try to make the perilous sea crossing to Australia.

Stopping the influx was a key issue at September elections won by Tony Abbott, who vowed to turn boats back to Indonesia when it was safe to do so -- a policy received coolly by Jakarta.

Morrison said two boatloads of asylum-seekers intercepted by Australian ships had previously been accepted by Indonesian authorities.

But Jakarta refused to take about 60 people picked up south of Java by an Australian vessel on Thursday. On Saturday, Morrison ordered they be transferred to Australia's remote territory of Christmas Island for processing.

"There's no real rhyme or reason to it, necessarily," Morrison told commercial radio when asked why some boats were accepted and others rejected.

"I think this last instance became very problematic because it went very public," he said, adding that he had promised Jakarta that such incidents would be handled in a direct and discreet manner.

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TOPICS: Business/Economy; Chit/Chat; Society; Travel
KEYWORDS: indonesiaeconomy
Global business tip
1 posted on 11/11/2013 12:50:12 AM PST by TexGrill
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