By Selwyn Manning reporting from Apia, Samoa
Leaders of Pacific nations are gathering in Apia, Western Samoa to attend 2004’s Pacific islands Forum and high on the agenda will be how the region’s nations ought to help resolve Nauru’s impending bankruptcy.
Greg Urwin, secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum, tells media that Nauru requires the Pacific region’s nations to help resolve its financial crisis.
Pacific Islands Forum secretary general, Greg Urwin, said today that Nauru no longer has the skills or networks to pull itself out of crisis. It needs the help of Australia and New Zealand and other nearby Pacific nations to help it to resolve what is a financial and humanitarian regional crisis in waiting.
Nauru, most recently famous for being Australia’s compliant ‘Pacific Solution’ location for its unwanted refugees, is on the verge of financial collapse. Over the later half of the 20th century Nauru suffered from being mined of its mineral wealth by Australia and New Zealand. Once the mines emptied of its mineral wealth, Nauru was left with little else except aid money on which to survive.
Nauru later brought in scant reserves by selling its passports to the highest bidder. Travellers wishing an alternative passport to their native land (most often from China and South East Asia) benefited from the dodgy enterprise. Up until September 11 2001 Nauru also benefited from laundering illegal money most notably sourced from the Russian mafia.
The United States signed a deal with Nauru that promised $250 million in aid if it ceased its trade in money laundering. Nauru tidied up its international financial system but was again left to its own devices when the USA reneged on the promised aid.
The Pacific Islands Forum officially opens at 4pm New Zealand time today.
Scoop will file reports over the next week keeping viewers up to speed with events in the Oceania region – topics examined will be regional security, trafficking in human beings, illegal trading in passports, and the emerging Pacific union.
Greg Urwin, secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum.
Apia, Western Samoa is host to this year’s Pacific Island Forum.
Pacific Islands Forum media centre, Apia, Samoa.