17 Jul 2012

Kanak leader calls for French visa for Fiji's Bainimarama

6:07 am on 17 July 2012

The president of New Caledonia's Congress, Roch Wamytan, has asked France to grant the Fiji regime leader, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, a visa.

Mr Wamytan, who is also a veteran leader of the pro-independence FLNKS movement, argues that not so long ago Paris welcomed dictators like Muammar Gaddafi and Bashir al-Assad.

Last month, the Fiji leader postponed a week-long trip to Noumea only days after confirming that he would lead a ministerial delegation as chair of the Melanesian Spearhead Group to look at the territory's decolonisation process.

Suva cited political developments in Noumea as the reason for calling off the trip while the French embassy in Suva said the Fiji leader had never applied for a visa.

A former New Caledonian president, Philippe Gomes, has said while he welcomes an MSG delegation there is no call to host the region's only dictator.