18 Mar 2005

French Polynesian government seeks clarification of French comment

11:12 am on 18 March 2005

The French Polynesian government has asked the French overseas territories minister, Brigitte Girardin, to clarify her comment that the French Polynesian president, Oscar Temaru, is a notorious incompetent.

The government in Tahiti says her statement made in an interview with the French newspaper, France Soir, is unacceptable.

Mrs Girardin has now denied making the comment.

Mr Temaru has been elected president twice in the past nine months by defeating Gaston Flosse who is affiliated to France's ruling UMP party; of which she is a member.

She hosted the two French Polynesian leaders in Paris in November when both claimed to be president.

Mr Temaru is due for top level talks in Paris at a date yet to be finalised but suggested to be in about a month.