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Saturday, 16 November 2013 - 9:32
Abbott expected to unveil SL boat deal
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Prime Minister Tony Abbott is expected to soon unveil a new deal with Sri Lanka on stopping asylum seeker boats.

 

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is understood to have discussed the new strategy with her Sri Lankan counterpart when she was attending a meeting of Commonwealth foreign ministers in Colombo this week.

 

Mr Abbott is having other meetings while he is in Colombo for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

 

The coalition took to the federal election a policy of intercepting all identified asylum seeker vessels travelling from Sri Lanka outside the Australian sea border and arranging for the immediate return of all passengers.

 

The key to the policy is ensuring what have been described as "safe transfer arrangements" involving the Sri Lankan government.

 

Mr Abbott told reporters in Colombo on Friday that Australia had "good and close co-operation" with the Sri Lankan government and navy.

 

"I'll be thanking the Sri Lankans for the co-operation which they have extended to us on this important issue and I will have more to say about this in the next day or so," Mr Abbott said.
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