Samoa's Prime Minister hospitalised

MICHAEL FIELD AND HAMISH RUTHERFORD
Last updated 15:04 21/03/2014
Samoa's Tuilaepa Sailele
Reuters
PM: Samoa's Tuilaepa Sailele addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York last year.

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Samoa's long-serving Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele is in an intensive care unit in Samoa, but authorities are making no comment on his illness.

Tuilaepa, 68, has been prime minister for 16 years.

Talamua website and social media sites say he left Parliament wrapped in a blanket yesterday evening.

He was taken to the National Hospital in Apia where he remains in intensive care today.

The government has made no comment, but Talamua quoted Police Minister Sala Pinati saying Tuilaepa was "very well".

New Zealand officials have been in contact with Samoan authorities about Tuilaepa's condition, which was said to be "manageable", Prime Minister John Key said.

"Obviously we've made clear to the Samoan Government that if there's any assistance that's required that we'll be the first to offer that assistance," Key said in Hong Kong.

"We have great respect for Tuilaepa. He's been a very long-standing prime minister of Samoa."

Key said the advice he had been given was that Tuilaepa did not need to be evacuated to New Zealand.

"I think the situation, without wanting to give medical reports on him, is manageable, but obviously, we've said if there's any other help required we're there to assist."

Authorities in Samoa were "comfortable with the treatment that he's getting and medivac services aren't required".

Key said the nature of Tuilaepa's condition was something for Samoan officials to reveal.

An economist with a master's degree from the University of Auckland, Tuilaepa has been in Parliament for 34 years.

He has eight children.

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