8 October 2004
The Commonwealth has responded immediately to Nauru’s request to observe its snap elections”, the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Don McKinnon said on Friday 8th October.
|The Island of Nauru in the Pacific|
Secretary-General Don McKinnon stated: "The Commonwealth will observe Nauru's elections in partnership with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. We will provide two members of a five-person joint team. This is the second Joint Observer Mission which the two organisations have ever undertaken."
The first joint observer mission by the Commonwealth and the Pacific Islands Forum was deployed at the Vanuatu General Elections, held in July 2004.
The need for the elections in Nauru arose after President Ludwig Scotty dissolved Parliament and declared a state of emergency in the country on 30 September 2004. President Scotty then wrote on 6 October to request for Commonwealth observers.
Mr McKinnon said that the Commonwealth Secretariat is closely following developments in Nauru.
He stated: "The Commonwealth recognises the challenges faced by Nauru, and also recognises that any contribution should add practical value to existing work. The Pacific Islands Forum includes many fellow Commonwealth friends and neighbours, and it is already actively engaged with the Republic of Nauru under the provisions of the Biketawa Declaration."
This Declaration was adopted by the Pacific Forum Leaders at their summit in Kiribati in October 2000. It stipulates measures to be taken in times of crisis or in response to member countries' request for assistance, on the basis of all members of the Forum being part of the Pacific Islands extended family.
"The Commonwealth continues to support these regional efforts and we stand ready to explore other ways to assist practically if we are asked to do so," said the Secretary-General.
For further details contact Albert Mariner or Martin Kasirye at the Menen Hotel in Nauru from 19 -25 October 2004 on + 674 444 3300.