FRANCE MAY SOON GRANT SELF GOVERNMENT TO FRENCH POLYNESIA

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PAPE‘ETE, French Polynesia (October 7, 1998 - Radio Australia)---France is reportedly moving toward granting self-government to its Pacific territory, French Polynesia, but Pacific Correspondent Richard Dinnen reports the territory's pro-independence groups are concerned about the move:

"French Polynesia's President Gaston Flosse has been in Paris, meeting with French President Jacques Chirac and Overseas Territories Minister Jean Jacques Queyranne.

"President Flosse said he had been assured France would change French Polynesia's status from an overseas territory to a French overseas 'country,' thereby making self-government possible.

"President Flosse has been pushing France for the change since May, when France signed an accord granting greater autonomy to one of its other Pacific territories, New Caledonia. But French Polynesia's pro-independence groups are concerned, unsure whether the change would be a step towards independence or a concentration of power in the hands of President Flosse.

"Meanwhile, independence leader Oscar Temaru is in Paris for meetings with French Government representatives for the first time in 20 years."

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