TAHITI LEADER BEWAILS 170 YEARS OF FRENCH OCCUPATION

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Temura wants French Polynesia on UN decolonization list

PAPEÉTE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, Sept. 5, 2011) - French Polynesia President Oscar Temaru said in Auckland he wants to "put an end to 170 years of colonialism".

President Temaru arrived in New Zealand a few days ago after attending the PCC (Pacific conference of churches) meeting in Samoa.

He will attend the Pacific Islands Forum and still lobbies to see French Polynesia on the UN list of countries to be decolonized.

French Polynesia Assembly Speaker Jacqui Drollet and several members of Temaru's pro-independence Union for Democracy Coalition (UPLD) also went to Auckland for the same reason.

French Overseas minister Marie-Luce Penchard reacted to Temaru's statement.

Penchard stressed the fact that French Polynesia already has a large amount of autonomy.

She also pointed out that France transfers up to two billion US dollars each year.

This situation cannot be described as a colonial relationship, Penchard added.

French Foreign Affairs minister Alain Juppé is expected to come to New Zealand to counter Tahiti’s lobbying.

[PIR editor’s note: The French Polynesian assembly approved last month a resolution asking French President Nicolas Sarkozy to reinscribe French Polynesia on the UN decolonization list. President Oscar Temaru points out that French Polynesia was on the Decolonization list until 1946. Then without Tahiti’s vote, the French government withdrew Tahiti from the list.]

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