24 Jun 2006

Two French Territories new associate members of Pacific Islands Forum

9:13 am on 24 June 2006

The French Minister for Overseas Territories says New Caledonia and French Polynesia will become associate members of the Pacific Islands Forum.

And, François Baroin says and the tiny French territory of Wallis and Futuna will gain observer status within the regional organisation.

Mr Baroin was speaking ahead of a "France-Oceania" summit on Monday at the French Presidential office, under the chairmanship of Jacques Chirac.

All of the Forum member countries are expected to attend the Paris meeting either at head of government or ministerial levels.

New Caledonia and French Polynesia gained observer status within the Forum respectively in 1999 and 2004.

The Forum's full members are Australia, the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.