5 Feb 2008

Nauru Government says beggar state tag is wrong

9:43 pm on 5 February 2008

The Nauru Government has strongly rejected claims by a veteran academic that the small island nation has become a beggar state and needs to negotiate closer links with Australia.

Professor Helen Hughes from the think tank the Australian Centre for Independent Studies says Nauru is totally welfare dependent which cannot provide basic social services for its people.

But the Foreign Minister, Dr Kieren Keke, says the comments are out of date.

He says in the past four years Nauru has undertaken financial and governance reforms; commercialised the operations of state agencies and re-vitalised phosphate mining.

"There are quite a significant number of developments here that we have been implementing ourselves to work towards recovering from Nauru's crisis, that we inherited. Certainly Australia's assistance has been a big part in helping our recovery, but we are not a beggar state."