U.S. President Trump assures Australian PM to honour refugee deal

Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 12:06 GMT, Jan 30, 2017 |

U.S. President Donald Trump on a telephone conversation with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Monday (Jan 30) has confirmed that his administration will honour a refugee resettlement deal with staunch ally Australia.

Amid uproar over the new President’s executive order banning refugees from entering the United States, The Australian understands that the Prime Minister has been given assurances from Mr Trump that the refugee deal struck last year will go ahead.

The previous U.S administration had agreed to resettle a substantial number of the 1,200 asylum seekers, mainly from Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq, held in Australia’s processing centres on remote Pacific islands in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

In the 25-minute conversation, the two men also discussed the longstanding strength of the bilateral relationship between the US and Australia and committed to making it even stronger.

But Trump’s executive order on Friday (Jan 27), suspending his nation’s refugee program, had cast doubt on the future of the deal, whose details and timing have never been made public.

The ongoing shared objective to defeat Islamic State was discussed and both leaders committed to continuing to work together to improve global instability, including in the Asia-Pacific.

“Both leaders emphasized the enduring strength and closeness of the US-Australia relationship that is critical for peace, stability, and prosperity in the Asia- Pacific region and globally,” the White House said in a statement.