CANBERRA, Australia – A newspaper reports that the United States and Australia are close to announcing a deal in which the United States will resettle hundreds of asylum seekers banished by Australia to Pacific island camps.
The Australian newspaper reported on Friday that the U.S. has agreed to accept up to 1,800 refugees held for up to three years at Australia's expense in camps on the impoverished island nations of Nauru and Papua New Guinea.
Most of the asylum seekers are Muslims from the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
That could empty the camps, which have been condemned by human rights groups as an abrogation of Australia's responsibilities as a signatory to the United Nations Refugee Convention.
Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull declined to comment on negotiations with the United States.