More coming all the time: Adelaide Now reports:
Boat people stand-off ‘Indonesia’s problem’
AUSTRALIA has rejected an Indonesian call for more help to resolve a long-running asylum seeker stand-off at a Javanese port.
More than 240 Sri Lankan asylum seekers have spent more than three months holed up on their rickety cargo boat at the port of Merak, in Java’s west.
Intercepted by Indonesia at Australia’s request in October, the Tamils do not want to come ashore because they fear they will be forced to wait years for resettlement.
They want instead to be offered a rapid resettlement deal like the one Australia used to coax 78 Tamils off the Oceanic Viking last year. Â Of course!
Senior Indonesian officials this week indicated Indonesia would ask Australia for more help to resolve the stand-off.
But the Department on Foreign Affairs and Trade today made it clear the stand-off was Indonesia’s problem.
“The disembarkation of the passengers on the Merak vessel is a matter for the Indonesian government to resolve,” a DFAT spokeswoman said.
DFAT confirmed Australia’s People Smuggling Ambassador Peter Woolcott would travel to Jakarta “shortly” but indicated the Merak crisis would not be on the agenda.
“The Ambassador will be holding general discussions with the Indonesian Government about bilateral co-operation on people smuggling issues,” DFAT said.