SUVA, Fiji Islands (January 25, 2001 – Radio Australia)---Tuvalu has signed a commitment to buy a majority shareholding in Fiji's main domestic airline, Air Fiji.

However, the Pacific News Agency reports that the deal was put on hold following the death last month of Tuvalu Prime Minister Ionatana Ionatana.

Tuvalu's acting high commissioner in Fiji, Fakavai Tamea, said Tuvalu is interested in Air Fiji since it is his country's sole air link to the world.

The airline currently offers Fiji-Tuvalu-Fiji flights twice a week.

The diplomat said with a caretaker government currently running Tuvalu, a ''big decision'' like the purchase of Air Fiji shares has to be left for the new government to make.

Mr. Tamea added that if the buy-out goes through, the Tuvalu government does not intend to transfer Air Fiji operations to Tuvalu.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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