Foreign relations of Nauru

Foreign relations of Nauru

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Independence 31 January 1968
Joined UN 14 September 1999

Nauru, following independence from the United Kingdom, became a sovereign, independent republic on 31 January 1968. Nauru has established diplomatic relations with a number of nations, including most of its Pacific neighbors with which it maintains economic, cultural and administrative ties with its regionally.


Membership in international organizations

Nauru was admitted to the United Nations on 14 September 1999. Nauru's application to the United Nations was questioned by the People’s Republic of China due to Nauru's close diplomatic and trade links to Taiwan. Nevertheless, Nauru was granted UN full membership.

Nauru became a full member of the Commonwealth of Nations in May 1999. Since independence, Nauru had been a special member of the Commonwealth prior to 1999, but having fallen behind in payments, reverted back to Special Member Status on 1 July 2005, with no authoritative power. It then returned to be a full member again on June 2011.[1]

Additionally outside the region, Nauru is a member or participant of the ACP (Lomé Convention), the Alliance of Small Island States, the Asian Development Bank, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the G-77, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Olympic Committee, the ITU, the NAM, the World Meteorological Organization and the World Trade Organization.

Nauru is notable for its lack of membership in several major international organizations. For example, Nauru is one of only four UN-recognized nations with a sea border that is not a member of the International Maritime Organization (the others are the Federated States of Micronesia, Niue and Palau). Similarly, the Nauru is one of only seven UN members that is not a member of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, one of 8 not part of the International Monetary Fund, one of 12 UN not part of the International Finance Corporation. Nauru also is not a member of the International Development Association and has no society associated with the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Finally, as with many other nations in Oceania, Nauru is not a member of Interpol or of the International Hydrographic Organization.

Membership in regional organizations

Regional cooperation through various multilateral organizations is a key element in Nauru's foreign policy. The country also hosted the regional meeting that resulted in the Nauru Agreement Concerning Cooperation In The Management Of Fisheries Of Common Interest whose eight signatories (including Naurua) collectively controls 25-30% of the world's tuna supply and approximately 60% of the western and central Pacific tuna supply [1]. Additionally, Nauru is a full member of the Pacific Islands Forum, the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission, the Pacific Regional Environment Programme and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

Hosting Refugees

In 2001 Nauru became host to approximately 867 refugees, mostly Afghan, who were intercepted while attempting to enter Australia illegally. This exchange was one of many which were collectively known as Australia's Pacific Solution. In February 2008, the last of the refugees were resettled in Australia.[2][3] Nauru reportedly received about $10 million in assistance from Australia in exchange for agreeing to house the refugees while their asylum applications are adjudicated.[citation needed]

Bilateral Relations


Australia administered Nauru as a dependent territory from 1914 to 1968, and has remained one of Nauru's foremost economic and aid partners thereafter. Relations between the two countries are, at present, cordial, with Australia having committed itself to assisting Nauru's economic development.

People's Republic of China and Taiwan

On 21 July 2002, Prime Minister Rene Harris of Nauru signed a joint communiqué in Hong Kong to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China.[4] In the document, the Government of the Republic of Nauru recognised that, "...that there is but one China in the world, that the Government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China and that Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory."[5] The declaration also contained an undertaking by Nauru to close its embassy in Taipei within one month, which was curious because Nauru had never had a diplomatic mission in Taiwan. This move followed the PRC's promise to provide more than $130 million USD in aid.

That same day, the Republic of China government issued an ultimatum, demanding that the communiqué be withdrawn within 24 hours or it would take the initiative and sever ties. There was much dissension within the Nauruan government over the move by Harris, which the prime minister was alleged to have made on his own initiative.[citation needed] In the confusion, the Nauru government did not respond to the ultimatum, which was extended an additional 24 hours, and the ROC followed through with its threat, breaking ties that had existed since 1980 on 23 July 2002. In 2003, Nauru closed its embassy in Beijing, prompting speculation of an imminent resumption of ties with the ROC.[6]

In April 2005, during a state visit to the Marshall Islands, ROC President Chen Shui-bian met and spoke with the Nauruan President Ludwig Scotty. On 14 May 2005, the two countries signed the necessary documents to restore formal ties and reopen embassies.[7] The People's Republic of China consequently severed ties two weeks later on 31 May.

United States

The Nauruan government has a very complex relationship with the United States; the government of Bernard Dowiyogo agreed to stop passport sales and offshore banking in return for an extensive aid package.[citation needed] However, that aid has not been delivered and Nauru's formal and traditional leaders are now looking to Japan and China for assistance. According to the U.S. Department of State, Nauru has cordial relations with the United States [8]

The U.S. has no consular or diplomatic offices in Nauru. Officers of the American Embassy in Suva, Fiji, are concurrently accredited to Nauru and make periodic visits.

In September 2007, David Adeang, Nauru's Foreign Minister, made a number of public statements in relation to the United States. He extolled Cuba and criticized US foreign policy, during a visit to the Caribbean island.[9] Subsequently, the US Department of State, referring to events investigated in 2007, reported criticism of Adeang in its Human Rights Report, issued for 2008.[10] This criticism was included in the State Department's report, despite the fact that police, having undertaken an investigation of allegations of wrongdoing, made no attempt to prosecute Adeang. Shortly after Adeang's public pronouncements, a crisis, with himself at the centre, led to the collapse of President of Nauru Ludwig Scotty's government.

Trade between the United States and Nauru is limited by the latter's small size and economic problems. The value of two-way trade in 2005 was US$1.6 million.

United Kingdom

The Nauruan government maintains an Hon. Consul, Martin W I Weston, who has served in this role for a number of years. The British Government had ceased to exercise any direct role in the governance of Nauru by 1968.


In the late 2000s, Nauru began to strengthen its relations with Cuba. Cuba provides medical aid to Nauru; an unspecified number of Cuban doctors are serving in Nauru.[11]

In June 2007, Nauru adopted the "Cuban literacy method", reportedly used also in several other countries.[12] In October 2007, Nauruan Foreign Minister and Trade Minister David Adeang travelled to Cuba to strengthen relations between the two island nations.[11] This led to the creation of a Cuba-Nauru Joint Intergovernmental Commission for Economic Cooperation.[13] At approximately this time, Nauru-US relations underwent tensions for reasons which were not completely clear (See also: Foreign relations of Nauru#Ties with the United States of America, above).

In September 2008, Nauru's foreign minister attended the first Cuba-Pacific Islands ministerial meeting in Havana, aimed at "strengtening cooperation" between Nauru and Cuba, notably on coping with the impact of climate change.[14][15]


Russia is represented in Nauru through its embassy in Canberra (Australia). Russia's ambassador to Australia Alexander Blokhin serves concurrently as Russia's non-resident ambassador to Nauru (as well as to Fiji and Vanuatu).

Nauru's banks are said to have provided services to the mafia in Russia during the 1990s; over the course of the 1990s, approximately 70 billion U.S. dollars owned by Russian mafia were held in Nauru banks.[16]

In 2009 Nauru became the fourth country to recognize the states of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, breakaway regions of Georgia. Only three other UN member states have done so. Russia was reported to be giving Nauru $50M in humanitarian aid in exchange.[17]

Other countries

Nauru has diplomatic relations with most states in Oceania. It also has ties with most major industrial countries, including Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, France, the UK, Germany, Spain, Canada, Australia, the United States of America and South Africa.[citation needed]

Nauru established diplomatic relations with Brazil in November 2005.[18]

Nauru established diplomatic relations with Vietnam on 23 June 2006.[19]

Nauru established diplomatic relations with Kosovo on 23 April 2008. [2]

Nauru established diplomatic relations with Abkhazia on 15 December 2009.[20]

In October 2008 the new US Ambassador to Fiji, also accredited to Nauru, pledged efforts to assist Nauru's economic development.[21]

In 1995, Nauru broke off relations diplomatic relations with France to protest French nuclear testing in the Pacific. Relations were resumed in 1997.[22]

In 2011, Nauru established diplomatic relations with Montenegro to the United Nations in New York: the ambassadors of respetive countries were Milorad Šćepanović (Montenegro) and Marlena Moses (Nauru).

Relations with partially recognised states

Nauru has used its position as a member of the United Nations to gain financial support from both the Republic of China (ROC) and the People's Republic of China (PRC) by changing its position on the political status of Taiwan. During 2002, Nauru signed an agreement to establish diplomatic relations with the PRC on 21 July. Nauru accepted $130m from PRC for this action.[23] In response, the ROC severed diplomatic relations with Nauru two days later. Nauru later re-established links with the ROC on 14 May 2005,[24] and diplomatic ties with the PRC were officially severed on 31 May 2005. Similarly in 2008, Nauru recognized Kosovo as an independent country. Then, in 2009, Nauru became only the fourth country to recognize the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are both claimed by Georgia. Russia was reported to be giving Nauru $50m in humanitarian aid in return.[25]

See also

  • Nauruan diplomatic missions

Missions in Nauru


  1. ^ "Nauru back as full Commonwealth member". Radio New Zealand International. 26 June 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  2. ^ "Last refugees leave Nauru - Immigration Media Release ce014/2008". Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  3. ^ "Departing refugees leave Nauru camps empty - National". 6 February 2008. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  4. ^ "Nauru". 6 August 2003. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  5. ^ "Joint Communiqué of the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of Nauru on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations". Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  6. ^ "Nauru shuts Beijing embassy, eyes renewed ties with Taiwan". The China Post. 2 August 2003. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  7. ^ "ROC restores ties with Nauru after 3 years". The China Post. 15 May 2005. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  8. ^ "Nauru". 19 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  9. ^ "Noticias de Prensa Latina - Inicio". 1 January 1970. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  10. ^ "2008 Human Rights Report: Nauru". 25 February 2009. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  11. ^ a b "Cuba, Nauru to Strengthen Links - Prensa Latina". 1 January 1970. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  12. ^ "Cuban Literacy Method to Pacific Isle - Prensa Latina". 1 January 1970. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  13. ^ Economy[dead link]
  14. ^ "Kiribati's Tong Meets Castro, Heads To UN", Pacific Magazine, 18 September 2008
  15. ^ "1st Cuba-Pacific Islands Ministerial Meeting opens in Havana", Xinhua, 16 September 2008
  16. ^ Pacific nation Nauru on brink of collapse The Age, 18 April 2004
  17. ^ Harding, Luke (14 December 2009). "Tiny Nauru struts world stage by recognising breakaway republics". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 14 December 2009. 
  18. ^ "Yahoo! News". Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  19. ^ "ABC Radio Australia News". Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  20. ^ International recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia#States which formally recognise Abkhazia or South Ossetia as independent
  21. ^ Posted at 01:57 on 28 October 2008 UTC (28 October 2008). "29 October 2008". Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  22. ^ AFP news agency 12 December 1997 Micronesian state of Nauru re-establishes diplomatic relations with France
  23. ^ Luke Harding in Moscow (2009-12-14). "Tiny Nauru struts world stage by recognizing breakaway republics". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  24. ^ AAP. 14 May 2005. Taiwan Re-establishes Diplomatic Ties with Nauru. Retrieved 2006-05-05. Archived February 20, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ Harding, Luke (14 December 2009). "Tiny Nauru struts world stage by recognizing breakaway republics". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 14 December 2009. 
  26. ^ "Australian High Commission in the Republic of Nauru - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade". Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  27. ^ "Ministry of Foreign Affairs Republic of China (TAIWAN) - 駐外館處通訊錄". Retrieved 2010-06-22. 

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