27 Feb 2006

IOM to table repatriation plan for Micronesians stranded in Nauru

4:47 pm on 27 February 2006

The International Organisation for Migration is presenting a proposal in Fiji tomorrow in a bid to resolve the repatriation of Tuvaluan and I-Kiribati workers stranded on Nauru.

Representatives from the governments of Tuvalu, Kiribati and Nauru, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the IOM will meet in Suva to thrash out the issue.

Several hundred mainly phosphate company workers and their families are stuck on Nauru, waiting for outstanding wages and sponsorship to pay for their return home.

The secretary general of the forum, Greg Urwin, says says various donor countries have been consulted but they need to see the IOM's proposal.

"We will have the proposal before us, we will then know how much it costs. We have been talking to various of our partners about the possibility of their being involved. They've basically said to us lets have a look at the proposal and we'll take it from there."

Mr Urwin disputes suggestions that negotiations had previously reached a stalemate and says things are moving in the right direction.