France Unequivocal, Paris Has Authority Over French Polynesia

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Overseas minister addresses assembly, doesn’t support decolonization process

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 1, 2013) – France has restated its authority over French Polynesia.

In a formal address to French Polynesia’s territorial assembly, the overseas territories minister, Victorin Lurel, says his message is clear that France is back.

Mr Lurel says France refuses to buy into the decolonisation process approved by the United Nations in May, saying Paris is guided by the outcome of this year’s territorial election which was won by the anti-independence camp.

He has also dismissed an assembly resolution passed in May, which formally called for an immediate independence referendum, saying it provides no solution to the territory’s problems.

The opposition boycotted Mr Lurel’s speech, claiming the territory is run by the mafia - a reference to the jail sentences for corruption given to the territory’s president, Gaston Flosse, who has lodged appeals yet to be heard.

Mr Lurel has dismissed the opposition stance, saying it is never good if the bitterness of an election defeat lasts too long.

Despite pleas by Papeete for firm financial commitments, Mr Lurel has deferred finalising any deals until more talks have been held in Paris.

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