Tuvalu News

PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT

Pacific Islands Development Program/East-West Center
With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies/University of Hawai‘i

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 for processing.

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.



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