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Tuvalu plans party for Government building donated by Taiwan


May 6, 2004 / Agence France-Presse /


Tuvalu is planning a huge party next month to celebrate the opening of its biggest building, a three-floor structure from Taiwan, the prime minister told AFP yesterday.

Tuvalu is one of the few nations in the world to have diplomatic ties with Taiwan, and Taipei has rewarded it with a new administration building costing around 11 million Australian dollars (US$8 million).

"The building will be completed by the middle of this month," said Prime Minister Sopo'aga, who will move into it.

His current office is a small unmarked house on a beach, while the Treasury, also without any identifying signs, occupies a small house near the police station.

The three floors of the new building, which is on Funafuti atoll's Fongafale islet, tower over the rest of the island and will provide the country with something that amounts to a center of government.

Tuvalu, between Australia and Hawaii, has no parliament building and when its 12 members want to meet, they use an open-sided hall usually used for dancing.

The prime minister said he was expecting senior Taiwan officials would come to his nation of 11,000 people for the "big party" on June 29, making the more than two-hour flight on a 30-seater plane from Fiji, to the south.

He urged others revelers to attend "if there are seats available on the plane."

Tuvalu, which received just 150 tourists last year, has just 26 square kilometers of land scattered over an exclusive economic zone of 1.3 million square kilometers.

None of its islands are more than five meters above sea level.


Copyright 2004 Agence France Presse www.afp.com



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