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Agreement signed with Thailand on fighting illegal immigration.

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Agreement Signed with Thailand on Fighting Illegal Immigration MPS 091/2001

The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock, has welcomed a new agreement between Australia and Thailand to fight people smuggling and combat illegal immigration.

The agreement, signed by Mr Ruddock and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, Dr Surakiart Sathirathai, enhances the existing cooperation between the two countries.

"This agreement demonstrates and acknowledges the strong relationship that Australia has with Thailand and is a good example of the types of arrangements that we are trying to establish with a range of countries to combat the problem of people smuggling," Mr Ruddock said.

"People smuggling is a global problem, and only by working together with other governments can we hope to solve it.

"It is both Thailand and Australia's international responsibility and in our national interests to identify, prevent and punish illegal activities relating to the movement of people, including smuggling, trafficking in women and children and fraud.

"People smuggling is closely linked to prostitution and drug trafficking, and until there is a universal approach to stamp it out, people, and countries, will continue to suffer," Mr Ruddock said.

The Minister added that it was only by cooperating through agreements such as this that the global burden could be eased and a stop brought to the insidious trade in human beings.

"This new agreement outlines ways in which the cooperation between our two countries can be enhanced, including strengthening cooperative efforts in regional fora and increasing joint cooperative activities by fostering bilateral programs, building expertise and providing assistance for the immigration work of both countries."

6 July 2001 Media Contact: Steve Ingram (02) 6277 7860

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