27 Jun 2005

Opposition in French Polynesia warns investigation may have to be abandoned

6:59 am on 27 June 2005

The French Polynesian opposition has warned that the investigation by the assembly into the disappearance of three politicians three years ago may have to be abandoned.

The three assembly members, including Boris Leontieff, were among five people in a twin-engine plane that vanished on a flight in the Tuamotu archipelago on May the 23rd 2002.

The assembly launched its first investigation under powers granted under the new autonomy statute following an appeal by Mr Leontieff's widow.

The opposition Tahoeraa Huiraatira says the investigation should be suspended now because it may interfere with a police probe which is still to be completed.

The party says this may lead to a situation that could force the assembly commission to have to abandon its work.

Meanwhile, the Tahoeraa says it regrets the vote against a proposed assembly investigation into the effects of the French nuclear weapons tests in the Gambier islands.

The government coalition accused the opposition leader, Gaston Flosse, of hypocrisy in calling for a probe when he for decades was an advocate of the tests.