30 Jul 2003

Nauru President keen to accept French offer of help

10:46 am on 30 July 2003

The French president, Jaques Chirac, has used his address to Pacific Island leaders in Tahiti to call for more countries to sign up to the Kyoto Protocol.

Mr Chirac also announced that French aid to the area would be doubled and he offered French scientific expertise and military help to stop illegal fishing in the region.

The initiative was widely welcomed by the assembled leaders..

The President of Nauru, which severed diplomatic links with France over the resumption of nuclear weapons testing in 1995, said his country had many needs.

Ludwig Scotty welcomed the assistance which he said would be of great help to nations such as his.

"Now that we have met the President of France and he has committed to help us out on many issues, especially surveillance of our seas. The French navy can do that for us. We haven't got the facilities to do it ourselves in terms of fishing rights and all that sort of thing."