10 Feb 2010

Russian government officials to visit Nauru for aid grant talks

10:36 pm on 10 February 2010

Russian Government officials are expected in Nauru next month to discuss how a huge aid grant to the impoverished island will be allocated.

Nauru is very keen to see some of the multi million dollar grant go to rebuilding its sea port.

The Foreign Minister, Dr Kieren Keke, says failing infrastructure has been holding the island back.

"So apart from the sea port we also want to have no issues that would compromise our air transport services and the airport itself, telecommunications, banking. A lot of these core elements of infrastructure that are taken for granted in many countries, have, unfortunately, deteriorated in Nauru, to the point where they are prime limiting factors on our economic development."

The aid link was announced late last year, at the same time that Nauru joined Russia in recognising the independence of the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are generally considered parts of Georgia.

But Dr Keke denies the aid offer was an inducement from Moscow.

He says Nauru and Russia have long had links, extending back to when Moscow supported its bid for independence in the 1960s.