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Ocean Island

Volume 929: debated on Thursday 7 April 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what answer has been given to the formal submission from the Rabi Council of Elders requesting the separation of Ocean Island from the Gilbert Islands Colony.

The Rabi Council of Leaders presented a submission to Mr. Richard Posnett on 28th January, shortly before his departure for the Pacific, in which it expressed the wish that Ocean Island be separated from the Gilbert Islands by 1st April 1977. In response to a written inquiry on 30th March, the council's solicitors were informed on 1st April that my right hon. and noble Friend expected soon to receive Mr. Posnett's report which would provide a basis for the consultations necessary to achieve a settlement which would take account of the legitimate interests of all concerned, including the Banaban community; and that the proposal that Ocean Island be separated by 1st April 1977 could not therefore be entertained.