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Timor-Leste has rejected Australia's asylum seekers plan: opposition

07-13-2010 14:40 BJT

CANBERRA, July 13 (Xinhua) -- Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said Tuesday that Timor-Leste's parliament has delivered a "thumping vote of no confidence" in the Australian government's policy on asylum seekers.

The parliament on Monday rejected Prime Minister Julia Gillard' s plan for a regional processing center for asylum seekers in Timor-Leste.

"The parliament of East Timor has delivered a thumping vote of no confidence in this never-never solution," Morrison told reporters in Sydney.

"East Timor does not want to play any role in this political stunt by our prime minister Julia Gillard to pursue her political purposes rather than genuinely advance the interests of the region on what is a difficult and sensitive solution."

According to Australian Associated Press (AAP), Morrison said Nauru, which hosted an offshore processing center as part of former prime minister John Howard's "Pacific Solution", was open for negotiations regarding reopening the facilities there.

"The Nauru government is ready to talk to the Australian government," he told AAP.

Morrison declined to say whether the opposition would reopen the center if elected but said the Nauru approach worked.

"It was a solution that worked ... it provided integrity to the way our borders are managed," he said.

Gillard on Tuesday sought to play down the parliament's rejection, saying the East Timor government was still open to hosting the center.

Australian officials held talks with their Timorese counterparts about the asylum-seeker center plan on Monday.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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