PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT
Pacific Islands Development Program/East-West Center
With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies/University of
TUVALU DENIES BEING PRESSURED BY AUSTRALIA ABOUT ASYLUM SEEKERS
FUNAFUTI, Tuvalu (November 22, 2001 – Radio Australia)---Secretary to
Government Panapasa Nelesone has denied media reports that Australia is
exerting pressure on Tuvalu to take asylum seekers rejected by Canberra
He said a recent verbal proposal from Australia was only an attempt to
sound out the government's position on the matter.
Although Tuvalu has asked Australia to submit a formal written request,
Nelesone said that should not be interpreted as a sign of acceptance.
He didn't rule out using as a bargaining chip Tuvalu's recently denied
request to Australia to accept Tuvaluan citizens in the event that the
Polynesian island group becomes uninhabitable because of rising sea
levels, Radio Australia reported.