Australian Immigration Minister to arrive in Sri Lanka

Australia immigration Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison will arrive in Sri Lanka on 9 July 2014, for talks with Sri Lankan authorities, the Ministry of External Affairs said.

Morrison is set to arrive amid mounting controversy regarding the fate of some 200 Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers aboard two boats that have reportedly been intercepted by Australian authorities at sea.

According to Australian media reports, Australian authorities are said to be holding two boats, one intercepted off Cocos Islands holding 50 asylum seekers and another intercepted off Christmas Island containing 153 asylum seekers.

Morrison and the Australian Government have been silent on Australian media reports that a vessel with Sri Lankans onboard had entered Australian waters but was later returned to Sri Lanka last week.

The Sri Lankan navy however said it had not taken custody of a vessel with asylum seekers.  Meanwhile the United Nations (UN) refugee agency raised concerns over reports on the asylum vessel.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has described Sri Lanka as a ”society at peace”, amid mounting speculation that two boats carrying Tamil asylum seekers have been handed over to the Sri Lankan navy in the middle of the ocean.

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