TEMARU PUSHES FOR MARQUESAS AIRPORT

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PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, Nov. 29) – French Polynesia Government President Oscar Temaru has once again called for building an international airport in the Marquesas Islands to provide "a second window to the world".

Such a project "arouses a great amount of hope," he said during a three-day visit to French Polynesia's northernmost archipelago from Nov. 24-26. "Hawaii's proximity will be an asset for Marquesan tourism," according to a presidential communiqué sent to the news media on Thursday.

"This airport by itself will constitute a new development pole with all the accompanying structures and businesses," the communiqué stated. "Finally, it will provide a backup to the people in the Tuamotu (Archipelago) in case of a tsunami, a possibility raised recently in a Tahiti daily newspaper by Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, (French) secretary of state for ecology."

Temaru headed up a delegation that included four of his cabinet ministers for the trip to the Marquesas Islands, all details of which were provided by Thursday's communiqué.

The trip included a visit one of the existing airports in the archipelago, a small facility on Hiva Oa where the runway is being lengthened to handle Air Tahiti ATR-72 flights from Papeete.

The delegation also visited Ua Pou, where a new town hall will be inaugurated during the 7th Marquesas Arts Festival from Dec. 17-20. This event is held only every four years. The delegation's last visit was to the island of Nuku Hiva.

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