28 May 2008

France and French Polynesia sign development contract

11:02 am on 28 May 2008

France and French Polynesia have signed a development contract in Paris after deferring its signature twice in the past week.

The deal for 280 million US dollars in French assistance over five years was signed by the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, and the French Polynesian president, Gaston Tong Sang.

Mr Sarkozy says this will allow French Polynesia to enter into a new political era while Mr Tong Sang says the contract is a first step in a close and lasting partnership to build a future for the territory.

The French president strongly criticised Mr Tong Sang's predecessors, saying the territory had for years been taken hostage by a behaviour which is acceptable neither in Polynesia nor in any other part of territory of the French republic.

The contract was to be first signed last week but it had not yet been passed by the assembly in Tahiti.

French Polynesia has seen instability for four years, with two early general elections, three different electoral systems, a series of no confidence motions and a period during which three different men simultaneously claimed to be president.