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Friday, January 14, 2011

Emergency Declared in Tiny Tuvalu

The emergency was declared Thursday to prevent moves to destabilize the government, Communications Minister Kausea Natano said.

The one naval patrol boat owned by the island nation of about 12,000 is guarding the coastline near the homes of Governor General Iakopa Itaeli Taeia and Prime Minister Willy Telavi, on the main island and capital, Funafuti.

Communications Minister Kausea Natano says the emergency was declared to prevent moves to destabilise the government.

Natano told The Associated Press on Friday from Funafuti that the demand that Finance Minister Lotoala Metia resign was creating instability. He said Metia had been placed under police guard after threats to his safety.
He also said the protests were masterminded by the current government opposition, but did not give a reason why Metia was specifically targeted.

Tuvalu - a cluster of nine low-lying coral atolls - is at the forefront of the group of small island states seeking urgent international aid because they believe climate change will raise oceans to levels that will swamp their countries.

The two-week-long emergency decree would be reviewed and likely lifted Wednesday by Natano.

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