16 Mar 2005

French Polynesia's president defers Paris trip

3:36 pm on 16 March 2005

Next week's planned visit to France by the new French Polynesian president, Oscar Temaru, looks set to be deferred until next month.

When Mr Temaru was elected earlier this month, he said he was invited to see the French prime minister, Jean-Paul Raffarin.

But a spokesman for Mr Temaru says moves are afoot to arrange the visit to Paris for mid-April to give the new administration in Papeete more time to prepare for top-level talks.

The French high commission in Tahiti says the visit is being organised directly between Paris and the Temaru government.

Meanwhile, uncertainty surrounds the current visit to Paris by the former president, Gaston Flosse, and his deputy, Edouard Fritch.

Mr Flosse has told public radio that he is there in his capacity as member of the French senate and its law commission.

But no meetings are scheduled within the senate, nor are there talks reported to be scheduled with the overseas territories ministry or the president.

The secretary-general of Mr Flosse's Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party was unable to say what the purpose of the Paris visit is.