6 Feb 2012

French President delivers video address to French Polynesia

4:39 am on 6 February 2012

The French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, has outlined a series of measures for French Polynesia in a televised video address - three months before the end of his five-year term in office.

In the special address, Mr Sarkozy said he would make available 3,500 contracts to create jobs after the huge increase of unemployment in recent times.

He says he has also instructed the overseas territories minister, Marie-Luce Penchard, to redirect funds to the communities to boost employment.

Furthermore, he has called for discussions with French Polynesian leaders to find a new way to create wealth over the next 10 to 15 years as the current system was built around the nuclear weapons test regime.

He says his administration has prepared a new decree to extend compensation to test victims by adding more illnesses eligible for possible compensation and by enlarging the eligible fall-out area to include Tahiti.

Mr Sarkozy says as soon as local associations have been consulted, the decree will be published.

He also says the archives will be opened for historians to research the controversial case of the pro-independence leader Pouvanaa a Oopa, who was exiled to France in 1958 after he was charged with leading unrest.

After a decade Pouvanaa a Oopa was pardoned and he became a Senator.

Mr Sarkozy says he wants to confront the joint history and clear up any grey areas, adding that this could even lead to a re-trial.

His address comes ahead of the overseas territories minister's visit and coincides with a campaign effort by his UMP Party, which sent a former overseas territories minister, Dominique Perben, to Tahiti for talks with the opposition's so-called pro-autonomy politicians.

The French Polynesian President, Oscar Temaru, will miss the French visitors as he has committed himself to a trip to Australia.