Former Vanuatu PM: Vanuatu Territorial Dispute With France May Require UN Ruling

Both countries lay claim to the remote volcanic islands which lie to Vanuatu's south, and the east of the French territory of New Caledonia, matter was taken up by France under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, September 27, 2017) – A former Vanuatu prime minister Sato Kilman says a territorial dispute with France may ultimately have to be ruled on at the United Nations.

Vanuatu and France are to have talks in Honiara next month about their long-running dispute over Matthew and Hunter islands.

Both countries lay claim to the remote volcanic islands which lie to Vanuatu's south, and the east of the French territory of New Caledonia.

The matter was taken up by France under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, yet it appears to have stalled.

Mr Kilman said new talks to try and settle the dispute are a good step.

"There's been technical advices and things that it (Matthew and Hunter islands) must belong to Vanuatu. But this is something that France has still disputed, and I think the only way to take that will be acceptable to all is that if we cannot reach a compromise with France, then obviously the next step would be a judicial decision on that."

Sato Kilman said the UN would be the best jurisdiction in which to address the dispute.

Radio New Zealand International
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