28 Oct 2004

Tonga Foreign Minister opposed to closing missions to save money

4:54 pm on 28 October 2004

The Foreign Affairs Minister in Tonga has described a call to close its diplomatic missions in London and San Francisco as unwise.

Earlier this week MP Akilisi Pohiva told parliament the government should close the offices because they were too expensive to maintain.

However the Minister Tu'a Taumoepeau Tupou says the Kingdom should maintain the present system as it would help speed up Tonga's business negotiations with other countries.

Another MP, Etuate Lavulavu, says he fears the call made by Mr Pohiva would sabotage European Union assistance programmes to Vava'u, worth millions of dollars.