French Polynesia Bid For Full Forum Membership Gains Steam

Foreign Minister’s in full support of Tahiti’s elevation

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Augsut 15. 2016) – Reports from French Polynesia say Fiji has confirmed that Pacific Islands Forum foreign ministers are in support of the French territory becoming a full member despite it not being independendent.

New Zealand and Australia had earlier expressed their support for the two main French territories in the Pacific being given full membership in line with the aspirations of Paris to integrate them into the regional architecture.

The public broadcaster in Tahiti said Fiji's foreign minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola gave the assurance to French Polynesia's president Edouard Fritch after last week's Forum foreign ministers meeting in Suva.

The issue was expected to be raised at next month's Forum summit in the Federated States of Micronesia.

French Polynesia and New Caledonia are on the UN decolonisation list, but both Mr Fritch and the French government were strongly opposed to a challenge of French Polynesia's status as a French territory.

Paris described French Polynesia's re-listing in 2013 as a glaring interference by the United Nations.

The French territories' inclusion in the Forum was first proposed in 2003 when the then President Jacques Chirac hosted Pacific leaders in Tahiti.

French Polynesia and New Caledonia, which became associate Forum members in 2006, have been lobbying for full membership for several years.

Meanwhile Wallis and Futuna, another French territory in the Pacific, is a Forum observer.

Radio New Zealand International
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