The French President, Jaques Chirac has announced a doubling of France's assistance to the Pacific region.
Mr Chirac made the announcement in French Polynesia at the start of a meeting with Pacific Island leaders.
Walter Zweifel reports......
"Mr Chirac says as of next year, the allocation to the Economic, Social and Cultural Co-operation Fund for the South Pacific will be doubled and administered from French Polynesia and New Caledonia. In his speech, he focused on environmental issues, offering French scientific expertise, and instructing the French military to help, in conjunction with Australia and New Zealand, to stop illegal fishing. He also called on those countries who have not signed the Kyoto Protocol to do so as the Pacific's future is at stake. And he put to the leaders that the central question of their talks will be what place the peoples of the Pacific wish to occupy in tomorrow's world."