24 Nov 2010

Vanuatu march planned over disputed Mathew and Hunter island

4:11 pm on 24 November 2010

The Vanuatu prime minister, Edward Natapei, has called for a public march through Port Vila on Saturday to support his country's claim to the disputed islands of Mathew and Hunter.

Mr Natapei has told parliament that the government and the National Council of Chiefs will have a so-called solidarity march over the two islands which are also claimed by France as part of its territory of New Caledonia.

He says Vanuatu invited the president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, for a dialogue over the issue but it hasn't gone ahead.

This follows a question in parliament by an outer island MP from Tafea province, Philip Charlie, with Mr Natapei stating that the two uninhabited islands will always be part of the sovereign territory of Vanuatu.