18 Apr 2006

Australian Foreign Minister visits Vanuatu

3:13 pm on 18 April 2006

Australia's minister for foreign affairs, Alexander Downer, is today arriving in Vanuatu for a two-day visit.

Sources within the Vanuatu government say they understand the reason for the Minister's visit is to check on the progress of the new Australian High Commission building, which is funded by a loan from the Vanuatu National Provident Fund.

But some observers say he may also discuss the status of the Papuan refugee Andy Ayamiseba who is to be deported.

Mr Ayamiseba was first granted residence by Australia but he chose to go to Vanuatu in the early 1980s after he was granted a Vanuatu diplomatic passport.

On his Pacific tour, Mr Downer will also visit Samoa and Tonga