8 Sep 2011

Tahiti decolonisation bid raised with UN chief at Forum summit

9:44 am on 8 September 2011

The French Polynesian president, Oscar Temaru, has met the UN secretary-general who told reporters at the Forum in Auckland that the right to self-determination is recognised in the United Nations charter.

Ban Ki-moon says it is up to UN member states to decide whether a non-autonomous territory is reinscribed or removed from the UN decolonisation list.

This comes amid extensive lobbying by French Polynesia's government for support in its re-inscription bid, which is opposed by France, the opposition in Tahiti, New Zealand and Australia.

However, Mr Temaru claims 14 of the Forum's 16 members, which have been gained independence in the past 50 years, now endorse his stance, and he says he'll be off to the UN in New York soon.

France argues that French Polynesia is the most autonomous territory within the republic and is being given two billion US dollars a year from Paris.

The only French territory in the Pacific earmarked for decolonisation is New Caledonia.