French Polynesia's disgraced president, Gaston Flosse, says the former French nuclear weapons tests sites in the Pacific belong to French Polynesia but because of their pollution, France can look after them.
Flosse made the comment in a television interview after the French High Commissioner in Papeete said Moruroa and Fangataufa had been excised before the tests and were part of France's inalienable domain.
The High Commissioner had been responding to a resolution adopted in the territorial assembly which asked France to pay rent for the use and occupation of the two atolls.
Flosse, who lost office because of a corruption conviction, says the assembly had been told by the French military that Mororua was totally polluted and at risk of collapse.
He says France has installed itself indefinitely on the atolls and should ensure they are monitored in case a collapse triggers a tsunami that could hit nearby Tureia.