29 Jul 2003

France offers Pacific help with sustainable, fisheries protection, and more aid

6:15 pm on 29 July 2003

An unprecedented meeting between the French President and Pacific Island leaders has ended with a commitment to seek the integration of the French Pacific territories into the region.

Jacques Chirac's initiative, presented to leaders of 14 of the 16 Pacific Forum countries, was well received.

Walter Zweifel reports from the summit in Papeete.

"Mr Chirac offered France's resources to promote the sustainable development, and called for the Kyoto Protocol to be signed, as the Pacific survival is at stake. The message was welcomed, as was his undertaking to consider helping New Zealand and Australia protect fishing zones from poachers, he announced and increase in French aid, and more assistance to be administered through the French territories in the Pacific, all with the aim of pushing their integration into the Pacific's regional organisation..it's now up to the Forum countries to determine how they can accommodate Mr Chirac's wishes as the French territories will for years to come remain French..Today's historic summit wraps up his Pacific tour, and he will head back to Paris tonight."