31 Jul 2009

France's Kouchner says no tension over Kanak move to cede islands to Vanuatu

12:50 pm on 31 July 2009

The French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, says there is no tension or confrontation over a Kanak move to cede two disputed and uninhabited New Caledonian islands to Vanuatu.

For nearly 30 years, both Vanuatu and France have laid claim to Matthew and Hunter islands and the 200 kilometre economic zone surrounding them.

Recently, a New Caledonian pro-independence politician signed a document with the Vanuatu prime minister, Edward Natapei, allotting the two islands to Vanuatu.

Mr Kouchner has told New Caledonian radio that he doesn't know why the FLNKS did this and if Vanuatu is happy about it.

He also says there is a French foreign policy and it is difficult for New Caledonia to act as if it was independent, if it's not.

The FLNKS move has been denounced by anti-independence politicians in