22 Feb 2006

The Nauru Government says the EXIM Bank wants debts cleared as part of any plane deal

8:09 pm on 22 February 2006

The Nauru Government says its bid to buy back its only aircraft is complicated by outstanding debts owed to the creditor, the EXIM Bank of the United States.

EXIM, which impounded the long range 737 late last year, called for tenders three weeks ago.

Nauru, with 12 million US dollars provided by the Government of Taiwan, supplemented by some of their own money, has placed a bid.

But the Aviation Minister, Dr Kieren Keke, says the bidding process, which is not expected to close until next week, has become more complicated than his Government had thought it would be.

"It's essentially all the baggage involved. EXIM is not looking at us as a commercial buyer just simply buying an aircraft.There's the baggage from the past actiions being attached to our bid, so we are having to deal with multiple issues in the one bid."

Dr Keke says it is likely to be sometime next month before EXIM reaches a decision.