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PNG signs formal agreement on asylum seekers

Staff Reporter 8/06/2013 | |
Liam Fox / ABC News

The PNG Government has signed a memorandum of understanding with Australia formalising the plan to send asylum seekers to Manus Island.

Australian Immigration Minister Tony Burke watched on as PNG's Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato signed the document at a small ceremony in Port Moresby.

Australia's High Commissoner to PNG Deborah Stokes had already signed the Australian Government's copy before it went into caretaker mode.

The memorandum of understanding formalises the deal struck between prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Peter O'Neill last month to send an increased number of asylum seekers to PNG for processing.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Australian Opposition criticised the government for not having signed the MOU.

Mr Burke says there can now be no doubt about the legally-binding nature of the agreement between the two countries.

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