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MALAYSIAN AND AUSTRALIA SEAL ACCORD ON REFUGEES SETTLEMENT

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JAKARTA, Indonesia - Malaysia will accept 800 asylum-seekers who entered Australia illegally by sea in a ground-breaking deal between the two countries to tackle people smuggling. In return, Australia will resettle 4,000 registered refugees living in Malaysia, according to a joint government statement on Saturday. Children and ill asylum seekers could be among those sent to Malaysia under Prime Minister Julia Gillard's new refugee swap deal.
Australia has long attracted people from poor, often war-ravaged countries hoping to start a new life, with more than 6,200 asylum seekers arriving in the country by boat last year. Most are from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Iran and Iraq, and use Malaysia or Indonesia as a starting point for a dangerous sea journey to Australia.
"This landmark agreement will help take away the product people smugglers are trying to sell — a ticket to Australia," Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said.
"The key message this will deliver to people smugglers and those seeking to make the dangerous sea voyage to Australia is: do not get on that boat," she said.
Source: AP
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