Fiji Time: 4:33 PM on Tuesday 26 July

Fiji Times Logo

/ Front page / News

'Give up Lau'

Avinesh Gopal
Thursday, July 03, 2014

TONGA'S Lands Minister Lord Ma'afu has revealed a proposal for the island kingdom to give up the disputed Minerva Reef to Fiji in exchange for the Lau Group.

The Minerva Reef has been at the centre of a dispute on ownership between the two countries.

Lord Ma'afu wants to make a proposal to Fiji that Tonga gets the Lau Group in exchange for Minerva Reef.

The Noble of Vaini on Tongatapu revealed this in an interview with Tonga Daily News' manager/editor Iliesa Tora last week, saying the row between the two countries over the ownership of Minerva Reef was not good for relations.

The reef, which is home to lucrative undersea minerals, was claimed by Tonga in 1972 and was declared by King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV as a Tongan island.

But in 2005, Fiji lodged a complaint with the International Seabed Authority concerning Tonga's claim over the reef.

"It is not good for our relations. We are closely related and our history dates back a long, long time," Lord Ma'afu said.

"So in good faith I will propose to the Minister for Foreign Affairs in Fiji that they can have Minerva Reef and we get Lau in return.

"We have a lot of our own people with Lauan ancestry and a lot of Lauans with Tongan ancestry," said Lord Ma'afu, who is named after Ma'afu, the Tongan prince who played a key role in the early part of Fiji's history.

No comment could be obtained last night from Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, who is in Korea.

However, Foreign Affairs permanent secretary Amena Yauvoli said last night the ministry would just have to wait for the Tongan Government's proposal.

The reef is actually a group of two submerged atolls named after the whaling ship Minerva that wrecked there in 1829.

The North and South Minerva reefs are used as anchorages by yachts travelling between New Zealand and Tonga or Fiji and is reportedly an excellent place for scuba diving, snorkeling and fishing.

North Minerva offers the more protected anchorage while South Minerva is shaped similar to an infinity symbol, with its eastern lobe partially open to the ocean on the northern side.








Fiji Times Front Page Thumbnail

Kaila Front Page ThumbnailFiji Times & Kaila Frontpage PDF Downloads

Use the free Acrobat Reader to view.

Westpac
Code Inward TTs Outward TTs
CAD 0.64140.6224
JPY 52.010249.0102
GBP 0.36840.3604
EUR 0.44140.4294
NZD 0.70020.6672
AUD 0.65280.6278
USD 0.48740.4704

from

$0.00

Exchange Rate updated on 26th July 2016

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. Fitter and faster
  2. Tourist fined $400 for apples
  3. Alarm over 'illegal' property purchases
  4. Chasing Olympic Games history
  5. Vocea: No jobs lost
  6. Two Fijians in Canada squad
  7. Probe into deaths continue
  8. Villagers wary of environmental damage
  9. $2m to ease burden
  10. Praise for State efforts

Top Stories this Week

  1. Sami's best try Saturday (23 Jul)
  2. Nakarawa steps up to meet Ryan's demands Wednesday (20 Jul)
  3. Nadro loses points Wednesday (20 Jul)
  4. Radio announcer in court Saturday (23 Jul)
  5. Black money Monday (25 Jul)
  6. 7s special Thursday (21 Jul)
  7. Allegiance switch Sunday (24 Jul)
  8. Bring it on Rio Wednesday (20 Jul)
  9. Reaction from 7s players Monday (25 Jul)
  10. Alleged rape victim out of hospital Monday (25 Jul)