12 Jun 2002

French Polynesia to get open-ended nuclear conversion fund

4:53 pm on 12 June 2002

The French Polynesian president says a decision has been made in Paris to change the terms of the compensation fund set up after France ended its nuclear weapons testing programme in the Pacific.

The French news agency AFP reports that Gaston Flosse said after meeting President Jacques Chirac the so-called reconversion fund will now be open-ended.

When the deal was signed in 1996, France undertook to pay French Polynesia 143 million US dollars a year for ten years.

The figure was set to compensate the territory for the loss of military expenditure because of the end of the tests in Mururoa and Fangataufa.

Mr Flosse says it's important that the amount is maintained.

He says through the fund, French Polynesia gets the basics but not everything.

Mr Flosse also says the president and the minister of overseas territories say they are opposed to French Polynesia adopting laws that interfere with legislation drawn up in the French parliament.

He says constitutional reforms to decentralise may be implemented later this year.