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Australia Bribes Cambodia to Take Refugees?

(The World Bulletin) The Cambodian government has given the green light for three more refugees detained by Australia on the South Pacific island of Nauru to be resettled in Cambodia.

The Cambodia Daily on Friday quoted refugee official Tan Sovichea as saying that the paperwork has been approved by the Interior Ministry, meaning Australia is now free to make plans for the men’s transfers.

According to one source, the men are from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, but Ian Rintoul of the Refugee Action Coalition in Australia told Anadolu Agency two weeks ago that the three are two Sri Lankans and a man from Syria, who is set to be reunited with his family in Cambodia.

Rintoul said at the time that the men had each been offered A$15,000 (more than $11,350) to resettle in Cambodia.

The resettlement plan is part of a A$40-million deal that Cambodia and Australia signed in September 2014, but an additional A$15.5 million was later tacked on to cover the costs of the transfers of the first four refugees to volunteer for resettlement.

All have since left. Another Rohingya man who arrived separately is the only Nauru transfer currently in Cambodia.

In general, interest has been scant on the island, where Australia detains hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers who try to reach its shores by boat.

Critics of the deal have said it has been a costly failure.

Repeated calls to Interior Ministry spokesman General Khieu Sopheak were unsuccessful Friday.

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