Nauru president: Australia's refugee policy 'working well'

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Nauru President Baron Divavesi Waqa, left, meets with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Offices in Sydney, Thursday, April 6, 2017.

Nauru President Baron Divavesi Waqa, left, meets with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Offices in Sydney, Thursday, April 6, 2017. (Photo: Mark Metcalf/Pool Photo via AP)

SYDNEY (AP) — Nauru's president says Australia's controversial policy of sending asylum seekers to his impoverished Pacific island nation is "working well."

President Baron Waqa met with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Sydney on Thursday amid questions over the fate of hundreds of refugees languishing at Nauru's Australian-run detention camp.

Australia refuses to settle any asylum seekers who try to arrive by boat. Instead, the government pays Nauru and Papua New Guinea to house them in conditions condemned by rights groups.

Waqa told Turnbull ahead of their meeting: "I think the program is working well."

But the program's future remains in doubt. The Obama administration had agreed to accept up to 1,250 refugees living on Nauru and Papua New Guinea. President Donald Trump was infuriated by the deal, dubbing it "dumb."

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