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Monday, January 5, 2009

Australia rejects Guantanamo inmates

Australia will not take any former inmates of the US' Guantanamo Bay detention centre, acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard says.

Ms Gillard said the federal government had advised the US - on Friday, US time, Saturday, Australian time - that Australia would refuse the American request.

It was the second request from the US.

"Early in 2008, we received a request from the US government to consider resettlement of a group of detainees,'' Ms Gillard told reporters in Melbourne on Saturday.

"That request was denied by the Australian government.

"In December 2008, we received a second request.

"We have considered that request and last night Australian time, Friday US time, we advised the US government that we would not be agreeing to those resettlement requests.

"Those resettlement requests were considered on a case-by-case basis against Australia's stringent national security and immigration criteria.

"Assessing those requests on a case by case basis (they) have not met those stringent national security and immigration criteria and have been rejected.

''(As) for the future, we will consider any future requests on a case by case basis against these stringent criteria for both national security and immigration.''

She said both requests had been made by the administration of George Bush, not of US President-elect Barack Obama.

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