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Vice President Fritch addresses Pacific Forum

PAPEÉTE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, August 5, 2010) - French Polynesia Vice-President Edouard Fritch told Pacific Leaders a better regional integration is necessary for Tahiti at the 41st Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Port-Vila, Vanuatu.

However, unlike pro-independence leader and Assembly Speaker Oscar Temaru, Fritch clearly stated that he does not seek full Forum membership for French Polynesia.

Fritch said French Polynesia and New Caledonia should be invited to the Leader’s retreat.

"We feel today that associate members are a little bit excluded from all that", Fritch said.

French Polynesia has an associate membership status along with its fellow French Pacific collectivity, New Caledonia, since 2006.

Meanwhile, a New Caledonian delegation has been in Vanuatu since last Friday, Radio New Zealand International reports.

The delegation is hoping to encourage Pacific Islands Forum countries to allow it to become a full Forum member.

The delegation includes New Caledonian president Phillipe Gomes but also former president of pro-independence FLNKS, Roch Wamytan.

A New Caledonian delegation also traveled to Australia last year. The delegation was seeking Australia’s support for full membership.

Pacific Islands Forum Leaders discussed other key regional issues at the 41st Forum Leaders Summit in Vanuatu.

One of the main topics remains the political situation in Fiji, according to media reports.

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