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Tuesday, 18 September 2018
Tuesday, 18 September 2018 | Sri Lanka Watch
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Aussie Foreign minister in SL PDF Print E-mail
Australian Foreign Minister will be arriving in Sri Lanka today on a special mission to discuss over the serious issues that had sprung up with the asylum seekers.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith’s main goal in his visit will be to discuss the issue of illegal Sri Lankan migrants whom were caught in two separate boatloads near the waters of Australia. Their continual refusing to disembark in Indonesia and the insistence on being sent to Australia instead has been already surveyed by the Aussie Government as unprecedented.

Australia has been trying for two weeks to persuade the group of Sri Lankan Tamils to voluntarily disembark their watery refuge and enter the Tanjung Pinang Detention Centre on the Indonesian island of Bintan.

But the group has refused adamant they want to be taken to Australia even though they were rescued in international waters within Indonesia’s search and rescue zone. The proposal to take up the suggestion of returning the 78 asylum seekers in Australian customs ships back to Colombo has also been rejected by the Aussi Government as being a ‘Weak solution’.

Earlier on Sunday, the Opposition of the Gvt of Australia ramped up its attack on the Government over its handling of asylum seekers.

Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce said the Government should send the people on board the Oceanic Viking back to Sri Lanka.

"If you want to show strength, if you want to be decisive, then send the Oceanic Viking to Colombo and you really will have made a strong statement," Senator Joyce said.

But Mr Smith says that is not an option.

"We are certainly not proposing to take up the suggestion of the Leader of the National Party in the Senate that they be returned to Sri Lanka" he said.

Mr. Smith will stay on the island for two days to resolve the growing problem of the illegal migrants and also the IDP issue which has resulted in many controversies.

He told the reporters in Perth on Sunday that it would be thefirst official visit to Sri Lanka by an Australian foreign minister since 2003.

It has also been reported that the Cuban Foreign Minister will also be arriving in Sri Lanka for a discussion with the SL foreign minister Rohitha Bogollagama.

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