CANBERRA, Australia – Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says all refugees who arrive in Australia by boat will be resettled on the South Pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea.
Rudd and Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill signed an agreement in the Australian east coast city of Brisbane on Friday that will enable Australia to deport refugees to its developing neighbor.
The move aims to deter an escalating number of asylum seekers who travel to Australia in rickety fishing boats from poor, war-torn homelands through countries including Indonesia and Malaysia.
The growing influx poses a major political problem for Rudd's Labor Party which is the clear underdog in elections expected within months.
Immigration Minister Tony Burke says the rule will apply to refugees who arrive from Friday.