30 Jun 2005

Wallis delegate disappointed with Paris visit

3:20 pm on 30 June 2005

The president of the territorial assembly of Wallis and Futuna, Albert Likuvalu, says he is disappointed with his Paris visit because he failed to meet the new overseas territories minister, Francois Baroin.

This comes amid tension on Wallis where two rival customary councils have emerged in a stand-off between clans over the position of the island's king.

The king and his supporters have been asking the French authorities to leave Wallis after the judicial authorities moved to enforce a jail sentence against one of his grandsons.

The king says the manslaughter case had been dealt with in line with customs, but the grandson surrendered to French police and is now in a prison in New Caledonia.

The news agency, AFP, says Mr Likavalu was advised before arriving in France that Mr Baroin had other commitments and could not see him.

Mr Likuvalu says the situation in Wallis is tense and he wanted to advise the minister that it wasn't up to the French prefect on Wallis to deal with customary matters.