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Australians facing death penalty in Vietnam granted clemency: PM

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese recently met with Vietnamese counterpart Pham Minh Chinh. Photo: AP/VNA

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese recently met with Vietnamese counterpart Pham Minh Chinh. Photo: AP/VNA Photo: AP/VNA

Two Australians who were facing the death penalty in Vietnam have been granted clemency, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said.

Speaking upon his return from Vietnam, Mr Albanese said there had been a “substantial breakthrough” in the cases of two Australians sentenced to capital punishment.

“I made representations to the (Vietnamese) prime minister yesterday morning, and by yesterday afternoon the president had signed the clemency orders,” he told ABC’s 7.30 on Monday night.

“Australia very much welcomed this. We make representations on behalf of Australian citizens and we are very pleased that Vietnam has agreed to the request and we thank them for it.”

Mr Albanese did not name the Australians due to privacy reasons.

“The families have been informed and they’re very relieved,” he said.

“They passed on their thanks to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade officials who’ve been working on this for some time.”

The Prime Minister said Australia was building a “strong relationship” with its south-east Asian partners, and in particular with Vietnam.

He said the government also made representations on behalf of another case, with the government seeking an international prison transfer.

“We make representations, we do it diplomatically and we always hope for positive outcomes in the interests of Australian citizens,” Mr Albanese said.

On a possible visit to China, the PM said authorities were looking at locking in a date, but there remained “dialogue” over the trip.

Mr Albanese said trade bans on stone fruit had been lifted.

“We want to see all of the impediments removed but we continue to engage,” he said.

“We think that dialogue is a positive thing, and if we can determine a mutually suitable date then I’ve said that I’m certainly up for travelling to China at some stage.

“That would be a positive thing.”

Mr Albanese said Australia will welcome China’s assistant foreign minister next month.

-AAP
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