16 Jul 2004

French Polynesia president puts off question of independence

5:15 pm on 16 July 2004

The French Polynesian president, Oscar Temaru, is reported as saying the territory could well split from France within the next ten years.

Mr Temaru's told the French newspaper Le Monde that the question of independence can be asked when the economic, social and financial conditions allow.

He says these conditions may occur within ten, fifteen or twenty years.

Mr Temaru says he and his delegation - currently in Paris - shall set out the views of his newly-elected government.

He's told reporters that French Polynesia's yet to fully explore natural resources, such as undersea mineral deposits, and phosphate.

Mr Temaru says the tourism sector has room for further development.

He suggests expanding the capacity of hotels in the territory.