Tuvalu News

TUVALU REJECTS PROPOSAL FOR VATICAN CITY-TYPE STATE

FUNAFUTI, Tuvalu (July 4, 2001 Radio Australia)---The government has rejected a proposal from the Maharishi Spiritual Movement to establish a Vatican City-type sovereign state within Tuvalu on land next to the country's international airport.

Radio Australia correspondent Sean Dorney reports that Tuvalu found the offer tempting.

"The Maharishi Spiritual Movement had offered Tuvalu -- which has a population of about ten thousand -- more than two million dollars a year for the right to set up its own country within Tuvalu.

"That's equivalent to about ten percent of the Tuvalu government's annual revenue.

"Tuvalu's high commissioner to Fiji, Taukilina Finikaso, has told the regional news service, Pacnews, that the movement -- which was established by the Indian guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi -- had wanted to have its own constitution, its own currency and run its own mini-state along the lines of Vatican City in Rome, Italy.

"He said he believed their aim was to gain United Nations recognition as a sovereign state.

"The high commissioner said that although the offer was tempting it was rejected because Tuvalu was unsure what the consequencesmight be.

"Sean Dorney, Radio Australia."

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.



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