11 Aug 2004

France says its Pacific policies will not change

11:23 am on 11 August 2004

France has welcomed the Pacific Islands Forum's granting of Observer Status to French Polynesia but says the question of self determination is a domestic one for France and the territory to resolve.

The Forum, in its summit communique, said it supported in principle, the right of French Polynesia to self determination but encouraged France and the Territory to seek a common position on the issue.

Speaking in Apia during the Post Forum Dialogues, France's delegation head, Philippe Vitel, says the new Government won power with a very slim majority of diverse elements and this cannot be taken as a vote for independence.

Through a translator, Mr Vitel said a dialogue has started with the new Government but there is no change in France's position.

"The new President of French Polynesia, Mr Temaru, has visited Madame Girardin who is the minister in charge of territories, in Paris. There is now a schedule of further meetings to continue progressing the issues, and the message is really that French policy in the Pacific is being pursued and continued and there has been no change of tack."