8 Mar 2004

Forum to probe French Polynesian membership bid

2:35 pm on 8 March 2004

Plans are being drawn up for a Forum secretariat delegation to go to French Polynesia for a fact-finding mission.

The French colony has won a new autonomy statute, and as a so-called overseas country within the French republic it's seeking to become a member of the Pacific Islands Forum.

The Forum will assess whether French Polynesia is eligible to become a Forum observer.

Its media advisor in Suva, Ulafala Aiavao, says it is yet to be decided who the mission will meet.

"I would not want to pre-empt who they might meet. Certainly they will meet with the official administration in French Polynesia. It's likely they may visit other stakeholders in the territory but it's a bit early for the secretariat at this stage to say who they will see in French Polynesia."

Ulafala Aiavao.

The French Polynesian opposition has in the past failed to get Forum support to seek French Polynesia reinscription on the UN list of territories to be decolonised.