17 Dec 2008

France accused of deception over Pacific nuclear weapons tests

11:00 am on 17 December 2008

Two of French Polynesia's members of the French legislature have accused France of deceiving French Polynesia over its nuclear weapons tests.

Gaston Flosse and Bruno Sandras made the accusation after talks with defence officials in Paris as France is set to draw up a law to compensate some of those who suffered poor health as a result of the weapons tests.

The two have issued a statement to demand that the planned law is to called the law for the compensation of the nuclear test victims and the reparations owed to French Polynesia.

They say the law also has to recognise French Polynesia's contribution to France building a nuclear deterrent.

The two say this is even more necessary in the light of France's long-standing assurances that the tests caused no harm.

Until recently, the party of Mr Flosse and Mr Sandras had been defending the French nuclear programme in Tahiti in the face of continued opposition from mainly the pro-independence movement.

Over a 30-year period, the French military carried out nearly 200 atomic tests.