31 May 2005

French Polynesia party calls on France to help with nuclear probe

3:03 pm on 31 May 2005

The leader of French Polynesia's centrist No Oe E Te Nunaa Party, Nicole Bouteau, says she hopes the French state will follow the US example and acknowledge the effects of nuclear weapons tests on human health.

She says she supports a planned probe into the effect of nuclear weapons tests on the people of the Gambier islands.

The inquiry is planned by the assembly under powers given to it with the new autonomy statute and follows the leak of classified documents about a 1966 atmospheric test.

Ms Bouteau says she welcomes the investigation after the refusal of the previous president, Gaston Flosse, to listen to any of the test veterans' concerns.

"In France, the power of military secrets is very important. So I hope that they, the French government, will be open. The Americans and Australians are, so we have to do the same."

Nicole Bouteau.

The French defence ministry says it offered protection to both military personnel and civilians.