Thu, Jan 26, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Government offers to help tiny Nauru get airborne again

DPA , TAIPEI

The government has offered to help Nauru -- one of the world's smallest countries -- to resume its air service after the Pacific island state's only plane was impounded by a US bank, an official said yesterday.

"We are willing to help Nauru resume its air service. We will give Nauru financial assistance as well as technological help," Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Michel Lu (呂慶龍) told the Broadcasting Corp of China.

The two sides are holding talks on how the help should be structured, Lu said.

Nauru, with 12,800 residents living on a coral reef covering 21.3km2, is one of the 25 countries that recognize Taiwan.

Once one of the world's riches nations per capita due to its export of phosphate, or bird droppings, the country is financially strapped as the supply of phosphate is running out.

Last month the US Export-Import Bank repossessed Air Nauru's sole plane, a Boeing 737-400, after Nauru's flag carrier fell behind on payments. The move cut off the island's air links with the outside world.

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