POLITICS

Trump To Honour Refugee Resettlement Deal With Australia

Malcolm Turnbull spoke to Trump via phone on Sunday.

29/01/2017 7:40 AM AEDT | Updated 30/01/2017 10:08 AM AEDT
David Gray / Reuters
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will have a conference call with Donald Trump on Sunday.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has had his first official conversation with US President Donald Trump during which the billionaire businessman-turned-politician reportedly indicated support for Australia's refugee resettlement deal with the US.

White House pool reporters saw Trump make his call to Turnbull on Sunday morning AEDT, Sky News reports. Trump's chief strategist Stephen Bannon and national security advisor Mike Flynn were reportedly nearby the president at the time.

Details about what was said during the call, which is said to have lasted about 25 minutes, are still sketchy however there are reports that Trump told the PM that the US government would honour the refugee resettlement deal made with former President Obama.

The Huffington Post Australia has sought the Prime Minister's office for confirmation.

If the deal goes ahead, it could see more than 1500 refugees on Manus Island and Nauru relocated to the US, if they are given the tick of approval by US security officials.

In the call, Turnbull was expected to discuss Australia's refugee resettlement deal with the US, which has been thrown into doubt following Trump's executive order, signed on Saturday. The order suspends his nation's refugee program for four months and prevents Syrian refugees from entering indefinitely.

Trump believes the tough immigration measure is necessary to curb radical Islamic terror but the order has attracted heavy criticism and legal action is already mobilising against it.

The call between Turnbull and Trump was one of a number the US President made through the morning, including to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Turnbull has previously indicated he is confident Australia's refugee resettlement deal with the US will remain on foot, despite it being struck with the Obama administration.

In the wake of Trump's controversial executive order, Turnbull earlier said he was still upbeat about the deal.

"We are very confident and satisfied that existing arrangements will continue," Mr Turnbull said.

"It's quite clear that the administration has set out in the order the ability to deal with existing arrangements."



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