23 Apr 2012

Vanuatu restates its claim on two New Caledonia islands

8:47 am on 23 April 2012

Vanuatu's foreign minister, Alfred Carlot, has restated to his French counterpart, Alain Juppe, that the two disputed and uninhabited islands, Mathew and Hunter, belong to Vanuatu.

According to the Daily Post, Mr Carlot says the islands are part of Tafea Province.

Mr Juppe says a French scientific team is considering the issue and calls on Vanuatu to set up a joint working group to clear the ownership issue.

On the eve independence in 1980, a Vanuatu delegation led Walter Lini hoisted the Vanuatu flag on the two islands but it was quickly taken down by the French Navy.

Three years ago, a New Caledonian Kanak delegation ceded the islands to Vanuatu but Paris dismissed the move as being without validity.