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PORT VILA, Vanuatu (The Independent, May 5) – The Vanuatu island of Espiritu Santo rarely receives a high level delegation from the French government.

Two ministers were there last week from the territorial assembly in New Caledonia. They are the minister for education, Charles Washetine and minister for training, employment and the public service, Alain Song. They both decided to visit Luganville before coming to the capital.

The commissioner of the Luganville municipality, Paul Hakwa, was pleased to receive the distinguished visitors.

"We in Luganville are honoured to receive such a high level delegation as this. It is a rarity," said Hakwa at the town hall welcome ceremony. "We hope to see the visit as a fruitful one in future."

Minister Washetine pointed out that Vanuatu and New Caledonia had long been friends and have much in common. He said he would try to find an area in which New Caledonia could be of assistance to Luganville, but he could not make any promises at the time.

The delegation took part in a kava ceremony at the Sanma provincial headquarters.

Their next stop was Port Vila and meetings with ambassador Jean Garbe and Jean-Pierre Nirua, director of the USP Emalus Campus in Port Vila.

The visit was taking place a week after the agreement had been signed to open USP to francophone students in years 13 and 14 at the DAEU of Lycee Louis Antoine de Bougainville.

The visit was arranged following the Vanuatu finance minister's visit to New Caledonia.

May 6, 2005

Port Vila Presse:

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