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PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, March 30) РFrench Polynesia President Oscar Temaru has proposed to visiting French Overseas Minister Fran̤ois Baroin the creation of "Tahiti Nui agreements" based on the procedure model used in 1998 for New Caledonia, another Pacific French territory.

The first official meeting on Tahitian soil between Baroin as minister and Temaru as president was described as "respectful even though Baroin reminded his host of his "firm spirit on the State's prerogatives".

Coming out of their meeting, Temaru said, "I gave him a document. We are going to try to contact everyone so that we can end up around a table in order to talk about the Tahiti Nui agreements."

Temaru had previously explained that his proposed Tahiti Nui agreements are based on the June 26, 1988 "Matignon agreements" created between the French government and New Caledonia. The purpose, Temaru said, is to give French Polynesia a "very precise institutional framework". They would also give the territory "a better view of the future," and would integrate recognition of Tahiti's French colonial past, an important factor for Temaru.

Temaru said after their meeting Thursday that Baroin did not react negatively. "He made me understand clearly that it was the business of (French) Polynesians and that if there was a consensus for this idea, Paris would agree to discuss it."

The Tahiti Nui agreements project, still in its formative stages, would require Temaru sending a delegation to Paris, a trip that could be arranged during the France-Oceania summit scheduled for June in the French capital.

Baroin, meanwhile, made no comments about the Tahiti Nui agreements project. But he did talk about his meeting with Tahiti's president. "I reaffirmed with President Temaru the State's guiding principle. . . a State that will assume all of its missions," Baroin said.

Temaru "reminded me of his convictions, which are not a surprise for anyone. . ., and I reminded him of the role and place of the State at the side of the local authorities," the minister said.

Baroin also emphasized the importance of the French State's financial transfers as well as the responsibilities allocated to French Polynesia, which, he said, are "the most important within the constitutional framework" of the French Republic.

As for the subjects on standby for French Polynesia, the overseas minister told Temaru that the upcoming French presidential election campaign for 2007 required that these matters be dealt with rapidly.

Temaru said he was "pleased" to welcome Baroin on his first official visit to Tahiti, describing the minister as "a cordial man". And Temaru added, "I could express myself. He knows my history. He knows the history of this land."

April 3, 2006

Tahitipresse: http://www.tahitipresse.pf/index.cfm?lang=2

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