19 Jun 2006

Agreements to be signed at France/Oceania summit

8:36 am on 19 June 2006

The governments of France, New Caledonia and Vanuatu are scheduled to sign a memorandum of understanding on formal co-operation during a forthcoming "France-Oceania" leaders summit.

But on the sidelines of the summit, due to be held later this month, Vanuatu's Prime minister Ham Lini is also expected to sign a cooperation agreement with New Caledonia's President Marie-Noëlle Thémereau.

A Cabinet meeting in New Caledonia was told that Ms Thémereau will also hold special talks with the Vanuatu Prime minister.

The two are expected to formalise a bilateral cooperation treaty between New Caledonia and its closest Pacific neighbour.

The Vanuatu delegation's trip will also be sponsored by France's Economic, Social and Cultural Fund for the Pacific, which has earmarked some 25,000 US dollars for the Vanuatu government's travel costs to Paris.

The funds have been delegated to New Caledonia as part of its regional cooperation initiatives.

Last week, leaders from both New Caledonia and French Polynesia confirmed their attendance at the summit which will also be attended by Pacific Islands Forum leaders and the French President, Jacques Chirac.