POLYNESIA INDEPENDENCE CONFERENCE COULD CLASH WITH FRENCH MINISTER'S VISIT TO TAHITI

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PAPE‘ETE, French Polynesia (August 13, 1999 - Radio Australia)---Polynesian independence groups are planning a high profile conference in Tahiti next month that could clash with a visit by a French Minister to discuss French Polynesia’s move toward greater political autonomy.

The eighth Conference for a Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific is scheduled to take place in Tahiti September 19 - 25.

The AFP news agency reports it is the first conference of its kind in a French Pacific territory to discuss ways of governing the Pacific and its environment.

The conference's organizer, the Center for Pacific Problems, has indicated that French Polynesia's institutional future will be at the heart of the discussions.

However, France's Secretary of State for Overseas Territories, Jean-Jack Queyranne, is scheduled to make an official visit to Polynesia during the conference period.

He plans to meet with representatives of all Polynesian political parties to prepare the territory's evolution toward more autonomy through a new political status agreement with the French government. French Polynesia is to become an "Overseas Country." Currently, it is an "Overseas Territory."

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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