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Monday, 15 October, 2001, 16:11 GMT 17:11 UK
Nauru accepts 260 more migrants
Afghan refugees welcomed by dancing girl
Naura has accepted the boat people in return for aid
An Australian Navy ship has taken another 260 asylum seekers to the tiny Pacific island of Nauru to have their claims processed.

The HMAS Tobruk dropped off two separate boatloads of people, picked up near the remote Australian territory of Ashmore Reef late last month.

Under tough new rules Australia refused to let the asylum seekers into Australia.

It struck a deal last month with Nauru - the world's smallest republic - to take the refugees in return for about $10m aid.

Australia also agreed to pay the full costs of processing the asylum applications and housing the refugees in a hurriedly built detention camp.

Several boatloads

The new asylum seekers disembarked on Monday, said a spokesman for the Australian Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock. They included a baby boy, born on Sunday.

Camp construction site
Australian troops have built a temporary camp
The spokesman said mother and baby were healthy. They were checked on arrival and have joined the other asylum seekers in the camp.

"Everybody's off, it's gone very smoothly," the spokesman said.

The new asylum seekers joined more than 500 Afghans, Iraqis and Palestinians who were taken to the island aboard the HMAS Manoora almost four weeks ago.

The Afghan asylum seekers had been rescued in late August from a sinking Indonesian ferry by a Norwegian cargo ship, and transferred to the Manoora. The Manoora then picked up the Iraqi and Palestinian asylum seekers on its way to Nauru.

There was a diplomatic row between Norway and Australia over the fate of the Afghans. Since then, Australia has toughened its already strict asylum policy.

It refused to let the Afghans, or any other asylum seekers, into Australia. Some were sent to New Zealand, but most were sent to Nauru, an barren island of about 11,000 people.

Now, Australia is trying to find another location for yet another boatload of asylum seekers. It has been negotiating with a number of Pacific neighbours, including Kiribati, a chain of islands near Nauru.

Mr Ruddock said he expected to announce soon where the 200 asylum seekers would be sent for processing.

See also:

15 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
New setback for Afghan boat people
10 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
Nauru accepts 200 more migrants
09 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
Australia talks tough on migrants
03 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
Australia ships out Afghan refugees
01 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
Pacific states step into the breach
03 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
Timeline: Nauru
03 Sep 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Nauru
21 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
Howard's refugee gamble paying off
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