7 Jul 2005

Nauru rejects Australia's criticism over whaling stance

2:21 pm on 7 July 2005

The Nauru Government has responded to criticism from Australia about its pro-whaling vote in South Korea, and rejects the view that it snubbed major aid donor Australia.

Australia reacted angrily to Nauru's pro-whaling vote, saying the country had snubbed Australian attempts to talk the issue over, and relied on Australia's moral stance not to link aid to such matter.

But in his first public response to the criticism, Nauru's Foreign Minister, David Adeang, rejects the view Nauruan representatives at the International Whaling Commission meeting in Ulsan snubbed Australia.

"I have a different account of events that transpired in Korea in regards to the supposed lack of consultations between our two delegations in Korea. But personally I'd prefer to move on and not make a bigger issue out of it than it already is. I think we still have very healthy and strong relations with Government of Australia; I understand that the Government of Australia is not in the business of retribution over this whaling issue..."

Mr Adeang says Nauru understands the whaling issue is a very sensitive one for Australia, but says Nauru is also sensitive to having people question the way it uses its vote.

Mr Adeang says Nauru decided on the basis of talks it had in Korea that it was in its national interest to vote the way it did.