24 Mar 2006

Land claimants in French Polynesia want roundtable talks

1:21 pm on 24 March 2006

A group in French Polynesia seeking to get the government to return Tupai atoll has called for a weekend round table meeting in Bora Bora.

Tupai was bought by the previous government in 1998 and the former President, Gaston Flosse, then developed part of it as a private retreat at the taxpayers' expense.

The claimants have told the Tahitipresse news agency that they have only now found out that the land minister had called a meeting yesterday to discuss their concerns.

They have now invited the territorial government, the French state and Mr Flosse who is the territory's senator to the talks.

The call for talks comes just days after 33 families vowed to set up a camp in Tupai before the end of the month to force the government into negotiations.

A year ago, the new government led by Oscar Temaru said it would return the land to its legitimate owners but the process has stalled.