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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Friday, August 18, 2017

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Trump slams Australian PM on refugee deal, claims ‘next Boston bombers’ exported to the U.S. from down under

Objecting to an agreement over the US receiving refugees

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WASHINGTON, U.S. - U.S. President Donald Trump had an apparent confrontation over the weekend with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during a phone call, with Trump reportedly objecting to an agreement over the United States receiving refugees.> BNN
The dispute was, according to reports, on a refugee agreement reached during the Obama administration for the U.S. to accept 1,250 refugees from Australia who are living on islands in detention centers off the mainland due to strict government policies.
"This is the worst deal ever," Trump said about the agreement, according to sources, also complaining that he was "going to get killed" politically, keeping in mind the fact that just a day earlier he had signed an executive order temporarily barring the admission of refugees.
He also claimed Australia was seeking to export the "next Boston bombers.”
On a day when he spoke with four other world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump termed his call which was "hostile and charged" with his staunch ally as "the worst call by far.”
When news report of the disagreement broke in the media, the U.S. president only added fuel to the fire, tweeting, "Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!"
Asked to react on the phone conversation, Turnbull told reporters in Melbourne, "I'm not going to comment on a conversation between myself and the President of the United States, other than what we have said publicly."
"You can surely understand the reasons for that ... it's better that these things, these conversations are conducted candidly, frankly, privately."
He said Australia's relationship with the United States was "very strong.”
"The fact we received the assurance that we did, the fact that it was confirmed, the very extensive engagement we have with the administration underlines the closeness of the alliance," he said.
"Australians know me very well - I stand up for Australia in every forum - public or private."
Turnbull did say Trump had agreed to honor the deal struck with the Obama government for America to resettle refugees mostly from island camps on the Pacific nations of Nauru and Manus Island.
However, according to a White House statement on Wednesday, Trump was "still considering" whether to take refugees from Australia, adding more confusion to the fate of the agreement.
Just days earlier, White House press secretary Sean Spicer had said the Trump administration would honor the agreement and take 1,250 people from the detention centers.
Australia is regarded as a close and trusted ally of the U.S and one of only four countries that the United States includes in the so-called "Five Eyes" arrangement for cooperation on espionage matters.
The call was expected to be congenial and smooth sailing.
However, Trump's abrupt end to his phone call with the Australian leader and the possibility of him not honoring the deal could result in tensions between the two nations.
 

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