13 Mar 2006

Futuna's two Kings to meet French minister for dependencies

7:54 am on 13 March 2006

A report from Paris says the French minister for overseas territories, Francois Baroin, is to meet the two Kings of Futuna there this week, along with their traditional ministers.

After the crisis undergone by Wallis, the main island of the territory, last year, the two Kings are understood to wish to remind the minister of their link with France and the institutions of the Republic.

The two monarchs - who change every four years - as opposed to the monarch of Wallis, are currently the King of Alo, Tui'Agaifo and the King of Sigave, Tu'i Sagave.

They will lead two delegations comprising 15 people in total, made up of customary ministers, interpreters and local MPs.

Wallis and Futuna's representative in the French assembly, Victor Brial, and the territory's senator, Robert Laufoaulu, both of the ruling UMP party, should also take part in the meeting.

The two Kings are not required to speak, with their prime minister traditionally expressing themselves on their behalf.

In 1886, Queen Amélia of Wallis signed a protectorate treaty which tied the island to France.

The two Kings of Futuna asked for French protection in the following year.

A statute of 1961 recognises the authority of the three monarchs, a territorial assembly and an administrator who represents the state.