The Prime Minister, Hon Enele Sosene Sopoaga was invited by the President of the Republic of Nauru to attend the celebration of his country’s 50th Independence Anniversary. Hon Sopoaga was accompanied to this invitation by his wife, Salilo Sopoaga, Protocol Officer from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Tourism, Environment and Labor, Mrs Asogali T. Panapa and Security Officer, Sgt. Penivao Penete. The two leaders (Hon Enele S. Sopoaga and Hon Baron Waqa) were also able to discuss other issues of mutual interests relating to development aspects.
Tuvalu’s Prime Minister, Hon Enele Sosene Sopoaga and the President of the Republic of Nauru, Hon Baron Waqa in Nauru holding hands. Photo by Sgt. Penivao Penete
The President of Nauru on behalf of his government acknowledged with gratitude the contributions Tuvalu had made to his country in the past years during the phosphate mining period (1960s – 1990s) when Tuvaluans were recruited as laborers with the Nauru Phosphate Corporation(NPC). The Nauru people greatly honor the contributions of the Tuvalu people to Nauru who have served in Nauru.
The President of Nauru also pledged his support for Tuvalu in whatever means his government can provide. An example of these is his government’s willingness to provide Tuvalu’s requirement for big rocks that have been cut from the phosphate mines during the mining period. He told Hon Sopoaga that the stones were in fact cut by strong Tuvaluans laborers who were under the employment of the NPC in those years when phosphate was being mined.
According to Tuvalu’s Prime Minister, these rocks are to be used for coastal protection especially of the new reclaimed land on Funafuti, the Queen Elizabeth the II Park.
A digger loading the rocks into a truck at the Queen Elizabeth II Park, Funafuti
Masini keli e fakauta i fatu ki luga i te tulakita i te Queen Elizabeth II Park
Tuvalu Prime Minister, Hon Sopoaga also thanked the Nauru Government for the cordial relationship that had developed between the Tuvaluan laborers and their families and the people of Nauru, as from the past and also today. Hon Sopoaga also acknowledged the benefits the Tuvaluans had reaped from their labor in Nauru. He also confirmed that there is still a Tuvalu community existing in Nauru and his delegation had the opportunity to be invited by them for a Tuvalu feast and entertainment.
Hon Sopoaga also thanked the Government of Nauru for agreeing to let the dead bodies of Tuvaluans who have rested peacefully on the island remained in their graves.
Dr. Kitiona Tausi