Plan For Hollande Visit To Wallis And Futuna Raises Concern

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

French President only plans to stop on one of two Futuna kingdoms

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 4, 2016) – There is concern among chiefs on the French Pacific island of Futuna over the programme planned for the first visit to the island by a French president later this month.

According to the public broadcaster, Francois Hollande is scheduled to make a short visit to the kingdom of Alo on February 22nd but not to Sigave, Futuna's other kingdom.

In 1979, the French president, Valery Giscard d'Estaing spent three hours on neighbouring Wallis in what to date has been the only presidential visit to the territory.

Inviting Mr Hollande, the chiefs of Sigave said it would be normal if he also visited them.

A chief was quoted as saying that if Mr Hollande only went to Alo, the Sigave chiefs would stay away from the visit.

Mr Hollande will visit Wallis and French Polynesia in line with a pledge to visit all overseas territories during his five-year term.

Wallis and Futuna has three kingdoms recognised by the French republic.

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