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Indonesia asks Aust to take more refugees

Rohingya refugee women queue for breakfast at their temporary camp in Kuala Cangkoi, North Aceh, Indonesia. Photo EPA/Hotli Simanjuntak

Rohingya refugee women queue for breakfast at their temporary camp in Kuala Cangkoi, North Aceh, Indonesia. Photo EPA/Hotli Simanjuntak

Canberra [AAP]

Foreign minister Julie Bishop will face calls for Australia to take more refugees from Indonesia during a three-day official visit.

Ms Bishop will meet her Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi, open Australia’s new embassy building in Jakarta and consulate-general in Makassar, and attend a regional forum on combating people smuggling.

‘Of course there is hope from Indonesia not only to Australia but to every country to be more receptive to these migrants who have been waiting for resettlement,’ Ms Marsudi has told Fairfax.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and Defence Minister Marise Payne are also in Indonesia for meetings.

The visits come at a sensitive time diplomatically for the federal government.

There is ongoing tension with Indonesia over Australia’s controversial boat turnback policy, with the latest turnback about a fortnight ago.

Mr Dutton has confirmed that 25 boats have been returned to Indonesia since the coalition came to power in 2013.

There are 13,188 refugees and asylum seekers registered with the UN’s refugee arm in Jakarta and Indonesia is pushing for Australia to accept more of them.

Australia announced two years ago that it wouldn’t resettle any refugees registered with the UN in Indonesia after July 1, 2014.

It also took 450 refugees from Indonesia in the 2014-15 financial year, 150 fewer than the previous two years.


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