7 Jul 2009

Kouchner to chair Noumea summit with Pacific leaders

4:53 pm on 7 July 2009

The French High Commission in New Caledonia says it now expects the French summit with Pacific leaders to be held in Noumea as planned on July the 31st.

It says the official confirmation from Paris is likely to be given either tomorrow or the day after.

The High Commission says the gathering will be hosted by the French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, and the newly appointed junior minister in charge of overseas territories, Marie-Luce Penchard.

This confirms suggestions that the Prime Minister Francois Fillon would not be available after reports that President Nicolas Sarkozy pulled out of the trip which was also scheuled to include an official to Australia.

The previous two summits with Pacific leaders, held in Papeete and Paris, were chaired by the then President, Jacques Chirac.