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PAPEETE, Tahiti (Oceania Flash, Sept. 20) –Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Greg Urwin and French Polynesia President Oscar Temaru met over the weekend in Tahiti to discuss, "French Polynesia's place in the Pacific" a government release said.

Urwin was in French Polynesia to attend the Pacific Regional Environment Program's ministerial conference in Pape'ete last week.

The meeting between the two leaders took place just over three months after Temaru became French Polynesia's new President.

Also, in March this year, France granted French Polynesia a new "autonomy" status.

And in August this year, the Pacific Island Forum leaders, at their summit in Apia (Samoa), granted French Polynesia the observer status.

As part of a current reform process initiated last year, the 16-nation Pacific Islands Forum has encouraged more trade links with non-sovereign Pacific territories, including the French territories of New Caledonia, French Polynesia, and Wallis and Futuna, and the American territory of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas

After the interview, Urwin reiterated a view expressed earlier this year at Forum ministerial and official level: that French Polynesia had the potential to contribute significantly to other Pacific island countries, because it was regarded as one of the Pacific region's most developed.

French Polynesia was also acknowledged as one of the Pacific's biggest spenders and therefore an attractive export market for Pacific states.

September 21, 2004

Oceania Flash: E-mail/Courriel: padec@iname.com

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