PRESIDENT TITO OF KIRIBATI INVITED TO TJIBAOU CENTER OPENING

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TARAWA, Kiribati (April 28, 1998 - PACNEWS)---France's Prime Minister, Lionel Jostin, has invited Kiribati President Teburoro Tito to attend the official opening of the Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center in New Caledonia next week.

Kiribati's Foreign Affairs Office says Tito has accepted the invitation, saying the visit will improve bilateral ties and understanding between France and Kiribati, Radio Kiribati reports.

Tito says it will provide him with an opportunity to discuss a variety of issues, including maritime surveillance.

Tito will leave for New Caledonia Thursday, accompanied by two government officials.

The cultural center honors Tjibaou, the Kanak leader who was murdered just after signing the Matignon Accords.

Coinciding with the opening of the center, the French Prime Minister and leaders of New Caledonia’s pro- and anti-independence groups will sign the agreement reached last week --the Noumea Accord-- on the future political status of New Caledonia, calling for a referendum on independence in 15 to 20 years.

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