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Cambodia agrees to Australia's request to house asylum seekers

Published on Apr 29, 2014 7:54 PM

PHNOM PENH (REUTERS) - Cambodia has agreed to take in people intercepted while trying to migrate to Australia illegally and a United Nations human rights agency said it would provide support for the plan if needed, officials said on Tuesday.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop asked Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen during a visit in February to take in migrants detained while trying to reach the Australian coast. "In principle, the government has agreed ... and we will do the work according to international standards," Ouch Borith, secretary of state at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, told reporters.

Australia's government came to power last year partly because of a tough stand on asylum seekers arriving from Indonesia with Prime Minister Tony Abbott promising to "stop the boats".

Australia already has offshore detention centres in the impoverished South Pacific nations of Papua New Guinea and Nauru for asylum seekers it intercepts, often in rickety boats.

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