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PRESS RELEASES

Republic of Nauru defends its vote at the International Whaling Commission
28 June 2005

New Permanent Representative of Nauru Presents Credentials
30 March 2005

Constitutional Committee Calls For Submissions
28 January 2005

Parliamentary Enacts Anti-Terrorism Legislation
11 November 2004

Assignment of Responsibility for the Business of Government
As of 26 October 2004

Parliamentary Committee Established to Investigate GEC Loan to Nauru
28 June 2004

More Press Releases Below/




REPUBLIC OF NAURU DEFENDS ITS VOTE AT THE INTERNATIONAL WHALING COMMISSION
28 June 2005

The Permanent Representative of Nauru to the United Nations, Ambassador Marlene Moses, has defended Nauru's decision to vote for commercial whaling at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) at last week's meeting in Ulsan, Korea.

Some media reports have suggested that Nauru's decision to become a member of the IWC and its vote were heavily influenced by other member nations, including Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

"Recent criticism in the media concerning Nauru's involvement in the IWC is an unfair intrusion on Nauru's sovereignty," said Ambassador Moses.

"The Government of Nauru is a responsible government. We have a voice on issues concerning the Pacific Ocean, and our decision to vote for commercial whaling was a carefully considered decision." Ambassador Moses said.

"Some whale species have the potential to devastate our tuna stocks, and, as a country whose food security and economy relies heavily on fishing, it is our responsibility to ensure the sustainability of our people's livelihoods." said Ambassador Moses.

"Nauru voted openly at the meeting, and we stand by our vote. Foreign governments have an obligation to respect our national decisions and not to undermine our sovereignty by suggesting that our participation in the IWC was motivated by anything other than securing the best outcome for our people." Ambassador Moses said.

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NEW PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF NAURU PRESENTS CREDENTIALS

(Based on information received from the Protocol and Liaison Service.)

The new Permanent Representative of Nauru to the United Nations, Marlene Inemwin Moses, presented her credentials to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan today.

Prior to her current appointment, Ms. Moses was Nauru’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, beginning in November 2003. During that time, she also served as Acting Chief Secretary, and Public Service Commissioner and Secretary to the Cabinet. Earlier, from 2000 to 2003, she was Permanent Secretary for Health and Medical Services. She also served as Permanent Secretary for Internal Affairs (1999-2000).

Having joined the foreign service of her country in 1983 as a Foreign Affairs Officer, Ms. Moses served as Consul in Tokyo, Japan (1988-1990), as Consul-General in Auckland, New Zealand (1991-1995), and as Assistant Director in the Department of Foreign Affairs (1995-1996). She was also chairperson of the Lands Negotiation Committee, coordinator of the Economic Strategy Committee, and a member of the Nauru Rehabilitation Corporation - Land Use Planning Committee.

Ms. Moses was educated at Canberra College of Advanced University and at MonashUniversity, in Melbourne, both in Australia.

Born in Nauru in 1961, Ms. Moses is not married.

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Constitutional Committee Calls For Submissions
As Of 28 January 2005

The Constitutional Review Committee is currently seeking submissions from academics, constitutional experts, former high government functionaries of Nauru, members of the Nauruan diplomatic core, interested persons on Nauru and overseas, the public and intellectuals regarding proposed amendments to the Constitution of Nauru.

The Constitutional Review Committee Act 2004 has established the Standing Committee to review the Constitution and make recommendations to Parliament regarding proposed amendments.

The Constitution has not been updated or amended since its adoption at Nauru’s independence in 1968. Prior to this, Nauru was a trustee of the United Nations under the administration of Australia, on behalf of the partner Governments, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

In recent years, the operation of the Constitution has created a number of stalemates because of grey areas and uncertainty as to applicability and operation in certain circumstances. Some examples of this include –

    The provision of no confidence motion as enumerated in Article 24 has often been misused. There have been frequent changes in governments in the 13th, 14th and 15th Parliaments which have proven to be disruptive for the economic and political stability of the country. At times, there has been no reason given for the removal of the President and the Cabinet, as this is not required by the Constitution. The continuity of the executive government for a certain period of time is a modern day requirement and is demonstrated in many Parliaments in the Pacific region, for example, in Papua New Guinea and Kiribati.

    The 15th Parliament failed to elect a President after a lapse of 21 days despite the Constitutional requirement that a President must be elected on the first day. No remedy is suggested in the Constitution if the Parliament fails to perform its duty in this respect.

    There has been a long-standing demand from the public to amend the provisions relating to the election of the President. The public consensus appears to be that the President should be directly elected by the people and not by the House. This would reduce the burden on the President to protect his position by appeasing Members of the Parliament to gain their support.

    In the past, previous Speakers have resigned to align themselves with the Caucus or otherwise. This has resulted in frequent vacancies in the Office of the Speaker and has caused much disruption to parliamentary business. As a result, there have been long periods of time when Parliament has been without a Speaker.

    Independence of the Parliament Secretariat has not been ensured in the Constitution. Modern practices dictate that Parliament and its staff should be independent in their functioning from the control of the general Public Service.

    The definition of ‘session’ is a grey area and the operation of Article 42 of the Constitution relating to non-cabinet members petitioning a sitting of Parliament has been dependant on the whim of the individual Speaker at the time and his personal view.

    There has been at least one occasion where a government has failed to pass an appropriation law yet continued in office and continued normal government and financial operations, without the Budget being passed by the Parliament.

    There are no penal punishments prescribed for high government functionaries found guilty of charges of corruption. For instance, the Office of Ombudsman has not been prescribed by the Constitution.

    The practice of Members of Parliament holding other offices, such as Chairmen or Directors of State-owned Enterprises, remains a grey issue.

Committee Chairman, the Hon. Dr Kieren Keke MP, said, “Once a detailed consideration of the Constitution as a whole has been performed, I expect there to be more areas for review.”

The Committee comprises Dr. Keke’s Deputy Chairman, the Hon. Godfrey Thoma MP, and Committee members the Hon. David Adeang MP, the Hon. Terangi Adam MP, the Hon. Frederick Pitcher MP, the Hon. Riddel Akua MP, the Hon. Dogabe Jeremiah MP, the Hon. Matthew Batsiua MP, and the Hon. Roland Kun MP.

Submissions may be directed in writing to the Hon. Chairman or Hon. Members of the Standing Committee, or to Parliamentary Counsel & Secretary to the Committee, Mr. Sanjeev Sharma at the Committee Secretariat, Parliament House, Republic of Nauru, Central Pacific, before 21 March 2005. The Committee will give due consideration to requests for any extensions beyond this date. Submissions will also be accepted by fax, on + 674 444 3187, or by email to keke@cenac.net.nr or sanjeevsharmanauru@yahoo.com.

The Committee will consider requests by parties who wish to give oral evidence. The Committee shall also give due consideration to requests from interested parties that their submission remain confidential.

Copies of the Constitution of Nauru, and copies of any previous judgments resulting from constitutional challenges in the Supreme Court of Nauru can be obtained by emailing requests to h.bogdan@bigpond.com.

ASSIGNMENT OF RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE BUSINESS OF GOVERNMENT
As Of 26 October 2004

Hon. Ludwig Scotty, MP
President and Head of State

Business of Government
Minister for Public Service, Civil Aviation
Nauru Phosphate Royalties Trust
Nauru Agency Corporation
Nauru Air Corporation
Eigigu Holding Corporation
Bank of Nauru
Nauru Phosphate Corporation
Nauru Insurance Corporation

Hon. David Adeang, MP
Minister Assisting the President, Foreign Affairs, Internal Affairs, Finance, Ronfin, Customs

Hon. Godfrey Thoma, MP
Minister for Justice, Nauru Shisheries & Marine Resources Authority, Immigration, Sport

Hon. Dr. Kieren Keke, MP
Minister for Health, Women's Affairs, Shipping, Nauru Rehabilitation Corporation

Hon. Baron Waqa, MP
Minister for Education & Vocational Training, Youth Affairs, Public Works, Rontel

Hon. Frederick Pitcher, MP
Minister for Island Development and Industry, Nauru Phosphate Royalties Trust (NPRT), Culture and Tourism, Environment

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Parliamentary Enacts Anti-Terrorism Legislation
11 November 2004

The newly elected Parliament of Nauru has passed four pieces of anti-terrorism legislation in a sitting on 5 November 2004.

The first Act, To Prevent Terrorists from Operating in Nauru and to Prevent Persons in Nauru from Taking Part in or Supporting Terrorism or Related Activities Act 2004, will assist Nauru to implement United Nations Security Counsel Resolution 1373 as well as operating in the prevention of terrorist activities in Nauru.

The Proceeds of Crime Act 2004 will deprive persons benefiting from the proceeds of serious offences as well as providing for the seizure of any such proceeds and or properties.

The Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 2004 will implement the provisions by the Republic of Nauru of international assistance in criminal matters upon requests by foreign nations.

In introducing the legislation to the House, The Minister for Health, the Hon. Dr. Keiren Keke MP, declared that its passing would help Nauru to remove its name from the Financial Action Task Force, (FATF), blacklist.

The fourth Act establishes a Standing Committee to the Parliament of Nauru for the purpose of reviewing and proposing possible amendments to the Constitution of Nauru. It also provides for the establishment of procedures for conducting any resulting referenda.

In the same sitting, the Parliament voted unanimously to appoint Mr Sanjeev Sharma as Parliamentary Counsel of the Parliament of Nauru. Mr. Sharma is currently on deputation from the Parliament of India.

"Mr Sharma has contributed a lot to the Parliament of Nauru and he is an officer of outstanding merits with 14 years of parliamentary experience. Nauru's reform process will benefit from his appointment," said the Speaker, the Hon. Vassal Gadoengin MP.

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Parliamentary Committee Established to Investigate GEC Loan to Nauru
28 June 2004

The Nauru Parliament has passed a resolution to establish a Select Committee to look into the background of the GEC Loan facility to Nauru, following Nauru’s repayment default in January and the subsequent appointment of receivers to the Australian assets of the Nauru Phosphate Royalties Trust (NPRT).

“The GEC Debt Committee will examine, inquire and report to Parliament the background to the GEC loan, which is estimated at approximately $230 million, all related transactions, the terms of extension of agreement beyond May 2004 and the various refinance proposals and any alternative proposals,” said the Committee Chair, the Hon. Fabian Ribauw, MP.

The members of the Committee will comprise the Hon. Dr. Kieren Keke, MP, the Hon. Marcus Stephen, MP, the Hon. Godfrey Thoma, MP, and the Hon Dogabe Jeremiah, MP.

The inquiries of the Committee will not prevent statutory bodies of the Republic of Nauru or the Executive of Nauru from progressing with existing or alternative refinancing options for the GEC Loan to Nauru.

“An important objective of the Committee will be to examine the impact and ramifications, both positive and negative, the loan facility has had on the Republic of Nauru, “ Chairman Ribauw said.

The Committee welcomes submissions from interested parties on the matter of the GEC Loan facility to Nauru. Submissions should be directed in writing to the Hon. Chairman or the Hon. Members of the Select Committee at the Committee Secretariat, Parliament House, Republic of Nauru, Central Pacific, before 12 July 2004. Submissions will also be accepted by fax, on +674-444-3187, or by email at favcain@cenpac.net.nr.

Should an interested party wish to appear before the Committee to give oral evidence, the Committee will consider such a request and the party will be informed of the Committee’s decision. The Committee shall also give consideration to requests from interested parties that their submission remain confidential.

The GEC Debt Committee will present its report to the Parliament by 14 September 2004.

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Members of Nauru Parliament Face Charges
14 May 2004

Nineteen people have been charged under the Nauru Criminal Code and the Air Navigation Act following a demonstration at the Nauru Airport on April 23, 2004.

In the course of the demonstration, an Air Nauru flight, bound for Australia, was obstructed from flying out of Nauru. His Excellency the President, the Hon. Rene Harris, MP and the Minister for Finance, the Hon. Kinza Clodumar, MP, were passengers on the plane that was delayed.

Four Parliamentary backbenchers are among the group charged, the Hon. Dr. Kieren Keke, MP, the Hon. David Adeang, MP, the HOn. Fabian Ribauw, MP, and the Hon. baron Waqa, MP.

The charges, amended on Friday, May 7, include disobedience to statute law, unlawfully entering the aerodrome; riot; disobedience to lawful order, issued by statutory authority; sedition; riotous behaviour; disturbing the peace; assaulting police, and interference with a Minister of Parliament in the course of carrying out his duties.

The Minister of Justice, the Hon. Russel Kun, MP, said, "This is a very serious matter."

The charges will be heard in the Nauru District Court, at a date to be set.

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Nauru government Issues Warning to Flotilla of Hope 2004 Crew
13 May 2004

The Government of the Republic of Nauru has issued a formal warning to members of the Flotilla of Hope 2004 crew that entry into Nauru's territorial waters without a valid visa will be both illegal and highly dangerous.

The Department of Justice has advised that visas will not be granted to any person, body or organisation associated with the Flotilla of Hope 2004 voyage, for entry into Nauru.

"The Flotilla of Hope crew should take this warning very seriously, as there are serious consequences for breaches of Nauru's immigration laws," the Secretary for Justice, Denzil Seneviratne, said.

Under the Nauru Immigration Act of 1999, any person who is not the holder of a valid visa and who enters Nauru is a prohibited immigrant. The entry into or presence in Nauru of a prohibited immigrant is unlawful and such persons will be guilty of an offense and liable to a penalty of a fine, not exceeding $3000, or imprisonment for one year, or both.

The Government of Nauru also wishes to emphasize the considerable dangers faced by anyone who seeks to visit Nauru by boat.

Nauru is a remote and isolated island. It is surrounded by a dangerous reef and shark-infested waters. Nauru will be incapable of providing any search and rescue services should the vessels require them, and medical facilities on Nauru are limited.

Further, it should be noted that the right of innocent passage in the territorial waters of Nauru, pursuant to Article 25 (3) of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 111, will be suspended. Consequently, this right will not be afforded to any vessel associated with the Flotilla of Hope 2004 and the organisation should not seek to rely on it. Vessels entering Nauru's waters under the captain's command will be impounded and may be sold to cover expenses incurred by the Government of Nauru.

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Agreement signed between Australia and Nauru
11 May 2004

The Government of the Republic of Nauru and the Government of Australia today signed an agreement Concerning the Provision of Additional Police and Other Assistance to Nauru.

The agreement, an implementation step under the Memorandum of Understanding between Australia and Nauru, signed in February, will allow for the provision of a Finance Secretary to assist Nauru in working through its current financial problems.

Australia shall also appoint, if necessary, other personnel to work in government departments and agencies of Nauru. Such personnel shall exercise the relevant powers and duties of the position or office they are appointed to.

The terms of the agreement also provide for the appointment of a Police Commissioner to Nauru. While the need for law enforcement support on Nauru is not an essential requirement at this time, Australia may deploy police and other personnel to work in partnership with the Government of Nauru to address core issues in Nauru in the areas of governance, law and order, and justice.

The President of Nauru, His Excellency the Hon. Rene Harris, MP today expressed his sincere gratitude to Australia.

"We are most grateful to the Australian Government for their unfaltering support at this difficult time in Nauru's history. It will enable us to get back on our feet financially and will assist us to address the long-term challenges we currently face," President Harris said.

The agreement shall come into force upon the notification of completion of constitutional formalities by each country and will expire at a time mutually agreed upon by the Australian and Nauru Governments.

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Nauru signs Protocol on Economic and Technical Cooperation with the People's Republic of China
18 February 2004

A fish farming project, a community centre, an indoor sports complex and a kindergarten are developments now on the agenda for the Republic of Nauru following the signing of Protocol between the Government of Nauru and the People's Republic of China.

On Monday 16 February, the Government of Nauru and the People's Republic of China jointly concluded three articles of Protocol in friendly consultations, in order to implement the Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation.

Under the loan specified in the Agreement, the People's Republic of China have agreed to begin construction of the Aiwo Kindergarten Building, which will comprise of classrooms, offices and play areas. The terms of the Protocol also allow for the rebuilding of the Nauru Community Centre, the Indoor Sports Complex and for the completion of the Anabar Inland Fish Farming Project.

In expressing his gratitude, His Excellency the President, the Hon. Rene Harris said, "We value our relationship with China and greatly appreciate the terms of the Protocol. They will no doubt be of great benefit to the people of Nauru."

The Protocol is an addition to the historic agreement that was signed on September 23, 2003 between the two nations.

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Republic of Nauru and Republic of Iceland Establish Diplomatic Relations
3 March 2004

The Republic of Nauru and the Republic of Iceland have established diplomatic relations at ambassadorial level at the signing of a Joint Communiqué in New York on the 17 February 2004.

With a purpose to promote mutual understanding and to strengthen the friendship and cooperation between the two peoples, the two nations entered the agreement in the presence of Nauru's Ambassador to the United Nations, His Excellency Vinci Clodumar and Iceland's Ambassador to the United Nations, His Excellency Mr Hjàlmar W. Hannesson.

Speaking in New York, Ambassador Clodumar said, "We wish to extend a warm welcome to the Republic of Iceland and look forward to a close and friendly relationship. Despite the great geographical distance between our two countries, we both have always had a great dependency on the sea and fishing."

Iceland experienced considerable economic growth during the 1990's due mainly to the successful management of their fisheries industry - an industry that is of growing economic significance to Nauru.

"The strength of this relationship will be founded upon a common respect and the very best interests of our respective nations, " Ambassador Clodumar concluded.

The Joint Communiqué was signed in accordance with the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations established on 18 April 1961.

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Nauru calls for responsibility from Australian Government as hunger strike worsens
7 January 2004

As the hunger strike in Nauru escalates, Nauru's Minister for Finance, Kinza Clodumar, has condemned the Australian Government's inaction and dismissal of its responsibility to asylum seekers.

In a statement yesterday, Kinza Clodumar said comments made by the Australian Minister for Immigration, Amanda Vanstone, that asylum seekers on Nauru who refused to eat, "were not the responsibility of the Australian Government," contravene the M.O.U. Australia made with Nauru regarding its duty of care to asylum seekers.

"The M.O.U. signed when Nauru first accepted asylum seekers, underlines Australia's responsibility to ensure the day-to-day management of asylum seeker facilities including medical treatment and further clarifies that, "health and medical services, personnel, supplies and equipment will be provided by Australia at the facilities. Where medical cases cannot be treated at the facilities, Australia may seek the assistance of Nauru's Health Services".

The Acting Director of Medical Services in Nauru, Dr. Kieren Keke, has reported to the Nauru Government that staff have done everything possible to coordinate the treatment of asylum seekers with the IOM but that services face being overstretched as the situation gets out of control.

According to Dr. Keke, the imminent pressure on Nauru's single hospital facility presented by the 35 hunger striking asylum seekers, represents a 140% rise in occupancy.

Dr. Keke said as "the needs of the hunger strikers begin to impact more on the delivery of healthcare to Nauruans, then we will be left with no other choice but to rethink our approach to providing care to the hunger strikers. This will of course lead to significant negative consequences and...is something I dearly wish to avoid".

The Minister for Finance, Kinza Clodumar, claims that the Australian Government should take a more sympathetic and compassionate approach to the asylum seekers.

"The Australian Government cannot continue to ignore the plight of these forgotten people. It must act now to recognise its M.O.U. with Nauru as well as its humanitarian obligation by providing adequate care and treatment for the hunger striking asylum seekers".

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Nauru Speaks Out on Processing of Asylum Seekers
20 December 2003

The Nauru Government has spoken out regarding the accommodation and treatment of asylum seekers in processing centres on its island.

In a statement released yesterday on behalf of the President of Nauru, Presidential Legal Counsel, the Hon. Russell Kun M.P., has emphasised that the processing centres on Nauru are not places of imprisonment, as has been claimed in recent media reports.

"Nauru's involvement in the processing of asylum seekers is part of our humanitarian obligation to address people smuggling in the region. This has been an issue of great importance to the Australian Government and we have provided our full cooperation and support," Mr Kun said.

"Our Government takes very seriously the welfare of asylum seekers who have been brought to our island and we have adopted every possible measure to ensure their stay is a comfortable one," Mr Kun continued.

Mr Kun said that the Nauru Government has provided asylum seekers with the freedom to attend public hospitals whenever they are in need of medical attention, have their children enrolled in schools with Nauruan children, move around on the island for shopping, picnics, swimming and to participate in sporting events. Some asylum seekers attend church services on the island and a small mosque has been established.

"Facilities at the two processing centres are air conditioned and three meals a day are provided. Asylum seekers have also been given a vegetable garden to grow their own produce and a Nauruan women's group has been providing recreational craft classes for women and children," said Mr. Kun.

Mr Kun concluded, "Asylum seekers accommodated on our island have been provided with a level of care and conditions that are equal to, if not better than, that of the Nauruan people themselves".

Nauru accommodates asylum seekers in two processing centres, which are funded by Australia, with the presence and assistance of the Australian Consulate, UNHCR, IOM, DIMIA, APS, Eurest for catering purposes and Chubbs Security Group.

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Nauru Removed from OECD List of Uncooperative Tax Havens
17 December 2003

The Republic of Nauru has been removed from the OECD's list of uncooperative tax havens following a commitment made by His Excellency, the President of Nauru, Rene Harris, on OECD tax compliance.

Nauru's commitment, laid out in a letter from the President of Nauru to the Secretary-General of the OECD, provides an "effective exchange of information agreements for criminal tax matters" and a readiness "to negotiate agreements for civil tax matters". Both commitments will become effective after 31 December 2003 and 31 December 2005, respectively.

In relation to matters of tax transparency, the Nauru Government will ensure that "information on beneficial ownership of companies, partnerships and other legal entities and on trustees and beneficiaries" is made available to its authorities and that companies, partnerships, trusts, and other legal entities in Nauru keep accounts in accordance with standards developed by the OECD.

In a statement today, the President of Nauru, Rene Harris said, "I am pleased with the positive response we have received from the Secretary-General of the OECD to our commitment. The Nauru Government attaches fundamental importance to the view expressed by the OECD that fair tax competition is not to be discouraged and we look forward to working together on this matter".

Nauru's removal from the OECD's list of uncooperative tax havens follows its report to the OECD's Financial Action Task Force in June regarding its compliance with recommendations on offshore banking licenses and money laundering. As part of its compliance, Nauru revoked all banking licenses issued by the Bank of Nauru and passed legislation eliminating its off-shore banking sector.

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Asylum Seekers in Nauru Receive Good Behaviour Bonds
3 October 2003

Asylum seekers tried in Nauru's District Court have each received 12-month good behaviour bonds for their involvement in a riot in one of Nauru's detention centres last Christmas Eve.

A total of 25 counts were heard in Nauru's District Court in relation to the riot. The accused asylum seekers were tried in 3 cases heard over 38 days before judgement was handed down on Tuesday.

Four of the accused were found not guilty and had their charges dismissed.

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Nauru Hosts Pacific Legal Conference in Melbourne 20 - 22 October

Sixteen Pacific nations are expected to send the heads of their legal departments to Melbourne to attend the Pacific Islands Law Officer's Meeting, being hosted by the Republic of Nauru, next week.

Known as PILOM, the Pacific Islands Law Officer's Meeting is an annual event of the Pacific Forum. Every year, delegates from Pacific nations convene at PILOM to report on legislative, judicial and administrative developments within their countries.

The Nauru-owned Savoy Park Plaza will be the venue for this year's conference, titled 'Maintaining the Rule of Law'.

In recognising the importance of his nation's role in this year's meeting, the President of Nauru, His Excellency the Hon. Rene Harris M.P., expressed his pleasure in Nauru's involvement as host.

"PILOM is a very significant event among nations of the Pacific. This meeting allows us to come together through dialogue and reaffirm our commitment to the rule of law in our island nations and in the region as a whole," the President said.

It was decided that this year's PILOM would be staged in Melbourne instead of Nauru for logistic reasons. Hotels and facilities required for the meeting in Nauru are currently being used by officials from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Australian Protective Services (APS) and other personnel involved in the processing of asylum seekers. For this reason, it was decided that the meeting would be held in the city of Melbourne - regarded by Nauruans as their second home.

The President said, "Nauru has a close historical relationship with Melbourne and the city was a natural choice for the staging of this year's PILOM. We welcome our overseas visitors to the city of Melbourne, and trust that their stay will be a memorable one".

The President will formally welcome delegates and special guests to PILOM at a dinner in the President's private suite on the 51st floor of Nauru House on the first night of the conference.

The sixteen member nations of PILOM are Australia, the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Republic of Kiribati, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Kingdom of Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and host nation, Republic of Nauru.

PILOM will commence on October 20th and will run for three days until October 22nd. Nauru's Minister for Justice, the Hon. Godfrey Thoma, M.P. will speak at PILOM's opening ceremony at 9.00am, which will be open to members of the media.

The Savoy Park Plaza's address is 630 Little Collins Street, Melbourne.

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Pacific Nations discuss Law and Order in the Region at Legal Conference in Melbourne 20 - 22 October

Nations of the Pacific Forum will present country reports on law and order at a legal conference being hosted by the Republic of Nauru at the Savoy Park Plaza, in Melbourne today.

The Pacific Law Officers' Meeting, PILOM, is held annually as part of the Pacific Forum. Member nations report on legislative, judicial and administrative developments within their countries.

The Hon. Godfrey Thoma, MP, Nauru's Minister for Justice will officially open this year's meeting entitled, 'Maintaining the Rule of Law'.

Also attending today's Opening Ceremony will be the President of Nauru, His Excellency the Hon. Rene Harris M.P..

Speaking in Melbourne today, the President said, "PILOM is a very significant forum for the Pacific region. It allows us to discuss legal matters of importance to our nations and the region as a whole".

Commenting on Nauru's decision to host the meeting in Melbourne, the President said, "Nauru is pleased that we were able to host this conference in Melbourne - regarded by Nauruans as a second home. Accommodation and facilities are fully extended in Nauru at present, due to official staff and international representatives involved in the processing of asylum seekers".

"Nauru has a close historical relationship with Melbourne which was a natural choice for the staging of this year's PILOM. We welcome our overseas visitors to the City of Melbourne, and trust that their stay will be a memorable one".

This evening, the President will formally welcome delegates and special guests to PILOM at a dinner in the President's private suite on the 51st floor of the Collins Street landmark, Nauru House.

The sixteen member nations of PILOM are Australia, the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Republic of Kiribati, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Kingdom of Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and host nation, Republic of Nauru.

PILOM commences today at 9.00am and will run for three days until October 22nd. Today's Opening Ceremony will be open to members of the media.

The Savoy Park Plaza
630 Little Collins Street, Melbourne

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Nauru and China Sign Agreement on Economic Co-operation
3 October 2003

His Excellency, President Rene Harris has announced an Economic Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Nauru and the Government of the People's Republic of China.

The Agreement, signed on September 23, 2003, extends a co-operation loan to Nauru from China for the sum of ¥20,000,000 CNY - just under $ 2.5 million USD.

The interest free loan is intended to support the implementation of projects in accordance with agreements on economic and technical co-operation between the two countries.

Speaking from Nauru, President Harris said, "This Agreement demonstrates the strengthening of the friendly relations as well as economic and technical co-operation between Nauru and China".

"The Agreement has come at a crucial time for the Republic of Nauru and my Government is grateful for China's recognition of development opportunities in our country."

Granting of the loan will occur over five years commencing October 1, 2003

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