A spokeswoman for the Asian Development Bank declined to say why Nauru’s president was meeting ADB officials in Australia this week – but Guardian Australia understands Waqa wants to pursue a new port project, and will visit the port of Brisbane as part of his official programme.
The president arrived in Sydney on Wednesday, and will travel to Canberra and Brisbane.
In addition to discussions about the proposed port, and discussions about Australia’s controversial immigration detention relationship with the country, while in Canberra, Waqa will tour the Mount Majura Solar Farm and investigate renewable energy projects.
The Australian government is hoping to transfer a substantial number of immigration detainees held on Nauru to the United States under a refugee resettlement deal.
The island is currently overwhelmed with dengue fever, with 750 confirmed cases , including more than 50 among asylum seekers and refugees held on the island by the Australian government.
Ahead of the visit, Malcolm Turnbull said the talks would “provide a valuable opportunity to reaffirm the friendship between Australia and the Republic of Nauru, and will allow us to explore ways to strengthen the many links between our two nations.”
Turnbull said Australia and Nauru “share a strong interest in the stability and prosperity of the Pacific region.”
- The Guardian