1 Apr 2005

French high commission won't intervene in Tahiti port blockade

12:43 pm on 1 April 2005

The French high commissioner in French Polynesia, Michel Mathieu, says the French state will not act to end the rebellion which has blocked the port of Papeete since last night.

Several hundred members of the French Polynesian presidential intervention group, the GIP, have triggered a run on petrol by blocking the access to the territory's largest port in the second such action in a week.

Although the French state is responsible for public security, Mr Mathieu says he hopes that discussions will sort out the latest flare-up.

At Easter, the GIP forced the territory's president, Oscar Temaru, to cancel the appointment of Robert Maker as the new head of the GIP.

Now, the GIP wants Yannick Boosie to take over the 12-hundred strong organisation after claiming that Mr Temaru failed to keep the Easter agreement that ended the three-day insubordination.

Negotiations are expected to be held at the presidency later today.

The stand-off comes as the visiting New Zealand foreign minister, Phil Goff, concludes his two day-visit.

The next stop of his Pacific tour is Chile's Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, where he is due to arrive tonight.