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Replaces Commodore Vichot

By Patrick Antoine Decloitre

SUVA, Fiji (Oceania Flash, June 17, 2010) – The French government has on Wednesday appointed a new head of the Armed Force in French Polynesia, who is also the head of French Naval forces for the Pacific.

The decision came out of this week’s cabinet meeting, which endorsed Commodore Jérôme Régnier as the next Commander of French Armed forces in French Polynesia.

The position also includes the titles of Commander of the Pacific Ocean maritime area and Commander of the Pacific experiment Centre (centre d’expérimentations du Pacifique, CEP, which was the base for French nuclear testing in the Pacific between 1966 and 1996.

The French nuclear tests effectively ceased in 1996 and the CEP has since undergone a post-dismantling rehabilitation phase.

Commodore Régnier was most recently with the French Defence ministry, French Naval Forces deputy chief of staff.

Commodore Régnier, who was appointed upon the advice of French defence Minister Hervé Morin, is expected to take up his position early August 2010.

He also holds the title of Commander of the Pacific Ocean maritime zone.

He replaces Commodore Jean-Louis Vichot, who was holding the same position since August 2008.

During his two-year term, Commodore Vichot has further engaged French forces in a movement of regional integration, with a strong emphasis on cooperation and interoperability with regional allied armed forces such as those from Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and more recently from Asian countries.

Over the past few years, the French Pacific Navy, from its French Polynesia base, has engaged in a growing number of exchanges and regular exercises with neighbouring countries, including Chile.

There has also been a strong emphasis on maritime surveillance and a fight against illegal and unreported fishing vessels, in French Polynesia's Exclusive Economic Zone, as well as in neighbouring countries.

French terrestrial armed forces are essentially based in New Caledonia.

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