30 Jun 2009

French/Pacific summit in Noumea may be put off - report

3:08 pm on 30 June 2009

There is speculation in the New Caledonian press that the French summit with Pacific leaders planned for the end of July will be put off by several months.

The Nouvelles Caledoniennes newspaper has been reporting that the event was not going to be hosted by the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, who had also expected to add Australia to his itinerary to become the first French president to make an official visit to Australia.

There have now been suggestions that the foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, could host the third such French summit amid reports that the prime minister, Francois Fillon, would also not to be available.

But according to the paper, questions could be raised in New Caledonia if the foreign minister was to visit even if he was accompanied by the junior minister in charge of overseas territories.

The previous two summits with Pacific leaders, held in Papeete and Paris, were chaired by the then President, Jacques Chirac.