FORMER VANUATU PRIME MINISTER TALKS COOPERATION WITH WALLIS AND FUTUNA

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MATA‘UTU, Wallis and Futuna (July 3, 2001 - Oceania Flash/SPC)---Former Vanuatu Prime Minister Maxime Carlot Korman visited the French territory of Wallis and Futuna last week, the weekly newspaper Te Fenua Fo‘ou reports.

Carlot was Prime Minister in Port Vila between 1991 and 1996.

He has always entertained strong links with his country's Wallisian community, mostly French-speaking, which settled in what was then known as the New Hebrides Islands in the 1950s.

Most Wallisians live in the northwest of the main island of Éfaté, working in the manganese mining settlement of Forari.

Carlot last week met top political, traditional and religious officials in Wallis.

Speaking as an invited guest in the Territorial Assembly, he raised an issue pertaining to most members of Vanuatu's Wallisian community.

He said they did not leave New Hebrides when it became independent Vanuatu in 1980 and are still holders of French passports. Still mostly in Forari, they face problems marketing their agricultural products, mostly because of a lack of adequate transport to the capital, Carlot told the Assembly on what was his first trip to Wallis.

The local parliament said it would consider Carlot's request to finance a vehicle for the Forari Wallisian community of about 100 persons.

Earlier this year the Territorial Assembly provided one million French Pacific Francs (about US$ 7,500) for a water pump for the Wallisians in Forari.

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