13 Jun 2013

Paris asked to deny Bainimarama visa for New Caledonia

1:37 pm on 13 June 2013

A leading New Caledonian politician has asked France to refuse a visa to the Fiji regime leader, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, who is due in Noumea next week for the summit of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

The request was made by one of the territory's members of the French National Assembly and former president, Philippe Gomes, in a letter to the French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius.

However since early February, Commodore Bainimarama has been to France twice to look at the new planes the national airline has bought.

The MSG meeting's host, Victor Tutugoro, says as far as he knows, the visa has been granted.

Denouncing the military dictatorship in Fiji, Mr Gomes says the democratic process there has broken down.

After objections by Mr Gomes a year ago, Commodore Bainimarama called off his planned visit to New Caledonia on short notice, with the MSG saying the environment was not conducive for a mission.