8 Feb 2010

Paris and Papeete sign economic transfer deal

12:57 pm on 8 February 2010

France and French Polynesia have signed an accord which will see Paris transfer just over 200 million US dollars a year as part of a new arrangement taking into account the economic legacy of the nuclear weapons tests.

The deal allows for about 60 percent of the money to be disbursed by the government in Tahiti, a smaller sum is to go to the communes and about a third of the funds will be used for infrastructure projects approved by France.

The origin of the funds transfer relates to the economic blow caused by the end of the weapons tests in the 1990s.

In recent years the funding was subject to annual negotiations, but is now available as a yearly entitlement.

The French Polynesian president, Gaston Tong Sang, who signed the accord, says he doesn't want to belong to a people that lives off a benefit.

The French overseas territories minister, Marie-Luce Penchard, says she would rather not talk about a nuclear debt but refer to the accord as a partnership.