31 Jul 2009

French Summit in New Caledonia ends

3:27 pm on 31 July 2009

The French Summit in New Caledonia has just ended.

The gathering with Pacific leaders, which was hosted by France's Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, was labelled disappointing after Paris downgraded the Summit.

A New Caledonian group also described the Summit as a "staged farce".

Walter Zweifel reports from Noumea

"The summit agenda has been overshadowed by protocol issues usually vital to France's projection of its image in the region. The french indecision on who would chair the meeting has led to only five heads of government turning up with Papua New Guinea and the Cook Islands sending officials to discuss co-operation, security matters and environmental issues. The summit has been boycotted and denounced by the pro-independence Caledonia Union party while strikes, blockades and intermittent clashes hamper the lives of many outside the zone cordoned off for the gathering."