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NOUMEA, New Caledonia (Oceania Flash, Mar. 3) - New Caledonia's territorial President Pierre Frogier will join French deputy minister for external trade, François Loos, during an Australian tour later this month, the daily newspaper Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes reports.

The French ministerial trip is scheduled to take place March 17-20 and would focus on Sydney.

Frogier said he hoped a group of business sector representatives from New Caledonia would join him for the occasion.

Frogier, who is currently in Paris, is chairing a French National Assembly "France-Australia Friendship" sub-committee.

During talks held in the French capital with Australian Ambassador William Fisher, the two men also mentioned a probable visit of French parliamentarians in Australia during the second half of this year.

Before that, French President Jacques Chirac is scheduled to visit the Pacific region, including Australia, New Caledonia and French Polynesia at the end of July.

Frogier declined to provide details of Chirac's planned trip to New Caledonia.

March 4, 2003

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