President Trump and Australia PM have 'worst call'

President Trump and Australia PM have 'worst call'
A phone call between US President Donald Trump and Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull has called into question a refugee resettlement deal.

The Washington Post reported Mr Trump called the conversation "the worst by far" of his calls with world leaders that day, and cut it short.

Mr Trump later tweeted that he would "study this dumb deal".

Struck with the Obama administration, it would see up to 1,250 asylum seekers to Australia resettled in the US.

Australia has controversially refused to accept them and instead holds them on offshore detention centres on the Pacific nations of Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

Mr Turnbull said he was disappointed details of the call, which he described as "very frank and forthright", had been made public. However, he said Mr Trump had assured him the deal would go ahead.

He told a Sydney radio station that "the report that the president hung up is not correct".

Last Friday, Mr Trump signed an executive order temporarily banning the entry of refugees and people from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Australia has since been seeking to confirm its arrangement would go ahead.

On Monday, days after the immigration ban was implemented, Mr Turnbull said he had spoken to Mr Trump and thanked him for agreeing to uphold the deal.

On Wednesday, US presidential spokesman Sean Spicer also said Mr Trump intended to uphold the deal.

But soon after, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported a White House source as saying the deal remained under consideration.

According to the Washington Post, in his phone call with Mr Turnbull, Mr Trump called it "the worst deal ever".

The president said Mr Turnbull was looking to export the "next Boston bombers" to the US, the newspaper said, and ended the call abruptly after 25 minutes.

"I don't want these people," he is quoted as saying.

Mr Trump later posted on Twitter: "The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia.
Why?"

Australia has been repeatedly criticised by rights groups for its tough policy on refugees and asylum seekers.

When the deal was first negotiated in November, it was agreed that US authorities would assess the refugees and decide who would be resettled in the US.

The agreement was set to be administered through the United Nations refugee agency.

(BBC)


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