Australia maintains its multimillion-dollar deal with Cambodia for refugees remains in place amidst reports of Phnom Penh's retraction, with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop denying on Monday that the agreement with Cambodia had fallen through.

Signed in September last year, the agreement would see Cambodia take in refugees who were not admitted into Australia's detention centre on Nauru island in exchange for a AU$40 million aid package from Australia, regardless of the number of refugees it receives. Australia had also set aside AU$55.5 million for the deal on top of the $40 million aid package, and AU$14 million per refugee.

However, only four people from Nauru have signed up since, with a Cambodian government spokesperson reportedly saying last Sunday that no plans are in place to receive more refugees.

“We don’t have any plans to import more refugees from Nauru to Cambodia,” Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said, the Cambodian Daily reported. “I think the less we receive the better.”

But the four existing refugees who had signed up to the deal - three Iranians and one Rohingya according to Aljazeera - are not going anywhere, with reports noting that Sopheak said the four refugees were living and enjoying their life in Cambodia.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop however, has said that reports claiming the deal had fallen through were only based on one official's statement. "Cambodia is committed to a regional solution and has committed through a memorandum of understanding with the Australian government to resettle some asylum seekers who are found to be genuine refugees," she said to Aljazeera.

Bishop added that Cambodia remains an aspiring country looking forward to increasing its Gross Domestic Product. The nation also wants to harness the skills of workers overseas to boost its GDP.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott supported Bishop's claims, saying that the deal remains intact. He also said that the agreement "indicates Cambodia's readiness to be a good international citizen", adding that the deal is expected to go as planned: "Cambodia is happy as a good international citizen to do its part now that it is in much better shape than it was a couple of decades ago."

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