26 Jun 2006

Strong reaction to failure of French Polynesian President to attend meeting with French President

5:46 am on 26 June 2006

There have been strong reactions to the failure of the French Polynesian president to make his appointment in Paris to meet the French president, Jacques Chirac, for the first time.

A private meeting was scheduled before planned talks between Mr Chirac and representatives from all the French Pacific territories.

Mr Temaru's staff say there was a communication problem but this has been widely dismissed.

The opposition Rautahi Party says through the media all of Tahiti knew when the meeting was to be held, adding that his failure to be there reflects a puerile attitude.

The opposition Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party says Mr Temaru showed a misplaced pride by letting his ego go before the territory's interests.

A senior member of France's ruling UMP Party says Mr Temaru's action is shocking and has offended the French republic, describing him as unworthy of being on a mission for the French Polynesian people.

Mr Temaru has expressed regret and says he will be at the French/Pacific summit that opens tonight

His deputy had threatened a French Polynesian boycott of the event because of the French government's refusal to make promised financial transfers to Tahiti.