NAURU CONSIDERS KEEPING ASYLUM SEEKERS BEYOND MAY

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YAREN, Nauru (February 7, 2002 – Radio Australia)---Nauru has indicated that it will consider keeping asylum seekers refused entry by Australia beyond the initially agreed upon cut off date of May.

As Radio Australia correspondent Sean Dorney reports, it’s the first statement released by Nauru since last weekend’s visit by Australia's Minister of Immigration, Phillip Ruddock.

"Before Mr. Ruddock made his visit, the President of Nauru, Rene Harris, said he had been told that all the asylum seekers had been processed and it was just a matter of where and when they would go.

"However, in a statement released from Nauru following the visit, the Acting President, Remy Namaduk, said processing was continuing.

"He said Mr. Ruddock had visited the two camp sites housing more than 1,000 asylum seekers and the Nauru government had discussed general issues with him.

Acting President Namaduk said Nauru had no significant concerns at present, the government understood processing could take time and Nauru would consider continuing its assistance further into the year as necessary.

"He denied Nauru had placed any pressure on the Australian government to stop processing the asylum seekers.

"Sean Dorney, Radio Australia."

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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