No break in Aussie refugee standoff

Nov. 5, 2009 at 3:50 PM
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MELBOURNE, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Australia's prime minister indicated he is in no rush to end the detention of Sri Lankan refugees aboard the ship Oceanic Viking despite Indonesia's impatience,

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said in a radio interview that the refugee standoff would be handled in a "calm and methodical" manner even though Indonesia has demanded that the issue be resolved by Friday, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Rudd called the 19-day Oceanic Viking standoff the type of complex matter that often occurs with asylum seekers. "What we're now engaged in … is a continued discussion with Indonesian authorities and others about the proper processing of these individuals," he said.

The Oceanic Viking, an Australian Customs ship, remained anchored in Indonesian waters Thursday. The 78 refugees were picked up at sea by the Australian ship in response to a distress call, but they have thus far insisted they did not want to be put ashore in Indonesia and Indonesia is not interested in accepting them.

Rudd has been under pressure recently to take steps to halt the flow of refugees arriving in Australia by boat.

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