FRENCH PACIFIC TERRITORIES STRENGTHEN TIES

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Agreement seeks increased cooperation

PAPEÉTE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, Feb. 26, 2010) - Assemblies from the three French territories in the Pacific have signed an agreement for more cooperation Friday in New Caledonia. French Polynesia Assembly Speaker Philip Schyle was in Noumea, New Caledonia, for the event, with New Caledonia Congress Speaker Harold Martin and Wallis and Futuna Assembly Speaker Victor Brial.

"This could have been done twenty years ago but, unfortunately, some political leaders were not ready for it", Brial said.

Schyle led a tahitian delegation to New Caledonia during one week. Most of the political groups having seats in the French Polynesian Assembly were in this delegation.

The main purpose of this trip was to have closer ties between Assemblies in three French territories in the Pacific - French Polynesia, New Caledonia and Wallis and Futuna.

Schyle has been working on this issue for several months.

He claims the idea is to make Assemblies work together more often so that they can be more effective when they have to vote on legislations coming from Paris.

[PIR editor’s note: French territories have varying legal status and different levels of autonomy, although all have representation in the Parliament of France (except those with no permanent inhabitants), and the right to vote in elections to the European Parliament. territories are governed by autonomy statutes that allow them to make their own laws, except for some specific areas (like defense, international relations, international trade and currency, courts and administrative law), as provided in the autonomy statute, that are reserved to the central government and its local appointee.]

In the long run, Schyle would also like the French Polynesian Assembly to have closer links with Parliaments in New Zealand and Australia.

But the Assembly Speaker position will be open again in April and Schyle said he's not sure if he will be elected for one more year.

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