The President of Nauru H.E. Baron Divavesi Waqa greeting the guests at the 50th anniversary celebrations
Source: Press Secretariat
Samoa and Nauru’s close relations was highlighted during the celebration this week of Nauru’s 50th independence anniversary. Samoa is represented by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Mrs. Gillian Malielegaoi and official party.
Tuilaepa presented gifts of traditional Samoan handicraft to President of Nauru H.E. Baron Divavesi Waqa. In congratulating Nauru, Tuilaepa said Nauru and Samoa continue to work closely and maintain cooperative and cordial relations not only in issues of mutual concern in the international and regional arena, but also in cultural affairs and sports.
“Celebrating 50 years of Independence is indeed a milestone to remember in the history of Nauru. It has been no mean feat given the achievements, the struggles and the challenges that have come about as an impact of the globalised world we all, as small islands developing countries are part of. I extend to you all warm congratulations from the Government and people of Samoa. After all Nauru is the second country in the Pacific to become independent in 1968 and the world’s smallest independent republic.
“Nature bestowed gifts in your land and sea which were very much yearned for by other bigger island countries without too many natural resources. But while ‘smallness’ has advantages, we as small islands developing countries certainly face ‘big’ issues.
“The involvement of the Republic of Nauru at the United Nations and particularly as the Chair of the Association of Small islands states (AOSIS), has ensured coverage of issues of critical importance to us all as Small Island states, such as global warming, rising sea-levels, nuclear testing, Development and Measures designed to combat international terrorism. Small as you are, Nauru continues to actively support human rights and self-determination in this Blue Pacific continent that we share stewardship of.
“Your efforts in the transport sector as a member of the Micronesian group that co-operate on transport and trade links has helped improve air services to some of the smaller island countries. It is a step forward in bridging the isolation of our countries. Samoa and Nauru became the first Pacific Island countries to ratify the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA), Trade in Services (TIS) Protocol on 17 April and 20 August 2013 respectively.
“Samoa and Nauru continue to work closely and maintain cooperative and cordial relations not only in issues of mutual concern in the international and regional arena, but also in cultural affairs and sports.
“Both Pacific Island countries are also current members of the Pacific Islands Forum. Samoa is the current Chair and Nauru will assume the chair of the 49th Forum Leaders meeting in September this year. Nauru was the Chair of AOSIS during the 2014 SIDS Conference hosted by Samoa and is the current Chair for the Pacific Small Island Developing States group. Despite being the smallest UN member, Nauru has been an active voice on key SIDS issues.
“Samoa and other Pacific neighbours have lent a helping hand in the building of institutions and capacities in Nauru. Senior Samoan public servants were contracted to serve in the Nauruan government in the areas of civil aviation, financial systems and law and justice. I am happy to note a former Supreme Court judge Lesatele Rapi Vaai from Samoa is now serving in the same capacity for Nauru.
“Private sector firms from Samoa have also won contracts in the construction area.
“My government has also hosted a number of Nauruan public servants to do work attachments particularly in the area of financial management reforms within the Ministry of Finance. Similarly, with the support of SPREP, environmental modelling experts from Samoa visited and assisted Nauru in the launch and application of the 3D model which would help Nauru establish and manage their natural resources including conservation sites. There is no better way to assist each other than the application of south-south cooperation among Pacific countries.
“A small Samoan community already exists in Nauru, and I have had the pleasure of meeting them during my short but memorable time in Nauru – this is evidence that people to people links are already and will always be an established part of our societies.
“Mr President, Samoa again congratulates your government and people of Nauru on the 50th anniversary of Independence. We extend to you our sincere thanks for the invitation and our best wishes for the next fifty years particularly as we stand together to weather the impacts of climate change and sea level rise,” he ended.