Pacific: Australia and Tuvalu agree to a pact on climate and security

We share the intention that the treaty enters into force as soon as possible in 2024 “, declared the two countries in a joint press release. The treaty, signed last November, notably offers the possibility to the 11,000 inhabitants of Tuvalu the right to live in Australia if this small group of islands were to disappear due to rising sea levels.

He commits Canberra to defending this Pacific archipelago in the event of “ military aggression », natural disaster or pandemic but only at the request of the micro-State. The deal, called the Union Falepili Treaty, was reached at a time when Western allies are concerned about China’s attempts to expand its security influence in the Pacific.

But the Tuvalu government was concerned about a clause giving Canberra a say in security pacts that the archipelago can sign with other countries. In February, a few days after his appointment, Prime Minister Feleti Teo said he wanted to find a ” viable arrangement » which would preserve its sovereignty.

In a ” explanatory memorandum “, not legally binding, both parties agreed that the clause reflected Australia’s security guarantee and that it ” will be implemented in a spirit of respect and amicable consultation “. “ Tuvalu does not need Australia’s permission before starting talks with other partners », Indicates the diplomatic note.

Australia does not have unlimited rights of access to the territory or airspace of Tuvalu, nor the right to establish military zones in Tuvalu “, she specifies. The memorandum states that the defense and security clause will only apply in a “ limited number of circumstances » and will not affect agreements concluded with other Pacific Island States.

Furthermore, either party may suspend or terminate the treaty if either party deems the requirements ” unreasonable ” and they agreed that the pact would not limit Tuvalu’s freedom to establish diplomatic relations with other states. Before its entry into force, it will be examined by parliaments and will be subject to public consultation.

With AFP

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