5 Feb 2003

French President invites Pacific leaders to meet him during his visit to Tahiti

11:38 am on 5 February 2003

The French Polynesian government says the French President, Jacques Chirac, will make an official visit to Papeete in late July.

A spokesperson in Tahiti says the confirmed dates are July 23rd until July 25th.

It will be his third visit to the territory and it will conclude a regional tour that will also take in a visit to Australia and New Caledonia.

The French Polynesian government has also invited leaders from Pacific Island countries to Papeete for a meeting with President Chirac.

The proosed summit is being described as an opportunity to rebuild ties with Pacific nations.

In the mid-1990's France ignored regional protests and resumed tests of its nuclear weapons.