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* Sri Lanka PM asks asylum seekers to return, says 'all is forgiven'
Wed, Feb 15, 2017, 09:38 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 15, Canberra: Sri Lankan asylum seekers detained in Australia's offshore detention centers in South Pacific islands can return to Sri Lanka as it is safe to return to the island now, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said Wednesday.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is in Canberra meeting with his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull told reporters that the asylum seekers who illegally migrated to Australia will be forgiven for breaking the law.

"They are welcome to return to Sri Lanka and we won't prosecute them. So they can come back to Sri Lanka and we will have them. But remember, they broke the law in coming to Australia, attempting to come to Australia," the Premier said in response to a question.

When asked what his message is to the asylum seekers who prefer to remain in the detention camps, the Premier said "Come back. All is forgiven."

The Prime Minister assured that it is safe in Sri Lanka for them to return.

"It is quite safe in Sri Lanka. We just started a Missing Persons Office. It is quite safe to come back," Wickremesinghe said.

The Premier said the dialogue between the two governments on smuggling asylum seekers is continuing although there haven’t been any Sri Lankans coming from boats since 2013.

He said the government doesn't want anyone to come from Sri Lanka illegally and settle in Australia. "We are looking at investment to further develop Sri Lanka. There is no need for people to be coming here," the Premier said.


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