East Timor rejects Australia's asylum seekers plan

17:03, July 12, 2010      

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East Timor's parliament on Monday rejected a proposal by the Australian government to establish a regional processing center for asylum seekers.

All parties of the East Timorese government were in opposition to the proposal floated by Prime Minister Julia Gillard last week, ABC Radio reported.

The decision to reject the proposal was unanimous among the 35 members of East Timor's 65 person parliament who voted on the resolution.

Earlier on Monday, Gillard said she was focused on dialogue with East Timor on setting up the center.

"I announced it last Tuesday and I have been determined each day since to get it done. We are now in dialogue with East Timor," Gillard told reporters in Adelaide.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith has been expected to discuss the issue of asylum seekers with Indonesian officials in Jakarta later this week.

He defended a decision earlier in the day not to visit East Timor to discuss the matter.

"We have an agreed process with East Timor," Smith told Sky News ahead of the East Timor parliament's decision.

"That process, in terms of getting officials together, starts today in Dili."

Gillard has been criticized last week for not consulting East Timor's Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao on the center proposal ahead of announcing her policy.

Source: Xinhua


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