FRENCH ARMY DEPARTING MORUROA AND FANGATAUFA

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PAPEETE, French Polynesia (January 11, 2000 – Radio Australia)---After being stationed there for 37 years, a French army regiment is about to be withdrawn from two South Pacific atolls once used for atmospheric and underground nuclear testing.

The commander of French military forces in Polynesia, Admiral Jean Moulin, said the remaining members of the 5th Foreign Regiment will leave Moruroa and Fangataufa atolls ahead of the regiment's dissolution in August.

The two atolls were used for nuclear testing from 1963 until 1996, after which the bases, 1,300 kilometers (780 miles) southeast of Tahiti, were closed and dismantled.

About 20 soldiers currently remain in the atolls on monitoring duty.

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

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