Vanuatu Protests To France Over New Caledonia Marine Park

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Coral Sea park includes disputed Matthew and Hunter Islands

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 5, 2014) – The Vanuatu Government has protested to France over New Caledonia's new Natural Park of the Coral Sea because it will encompass the disputed Matthew and Hunter Islands. Both France and Vanuatu claim the uninhabited islands.

New Caledonia has set up the 1.3 million square kilometre park covering its entire exclusive economic zone.

But in a protest letter to the French Ambassador to Vanuatu, Michel Djokovic, on Friday, Vanuatu's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Edward Natapei, expressed his Government's concerns.

Mr Natapei says it objects to New Caledonia's unilateral decision to establish the marine reserve when it knows full well ownership of part of the area is being disputed.

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