19 Jun 2006

Nauru has to organise emergency meeting to approve visas for Australian security officers

8:42 am on 19 June 2006

Nauru's government has been forced to call an emergency cabinet meeting to grant visas to two Australian security officers who had tried to fly in without proper documentation.

A report in The Age newspaper says the ASIO officers had travelled to re-interview the last two asylum seekers on the island.

It is a well -established procedure that permission to land be given 48 hours before arrival.

But Nauruan officials learned of the visit only hours before the ASIO officers were expected and refused them permission to land until their papers were in order.

While an emergency cabinet meeting was hastily convened on Nauru, the ASIO officers remained in their plane in the Solomon Islands capital of Honiara.

The next morning they were told they could proceed.

The blunder has annoyed Nauruan politicians, who were busy passing a budget.

One MP remarked that the Australians expected them to drop everything any time they wanted something.