3 Apr 2008

Sarkozy's April visit to Tahiti deferred until unspecified date

4:37 pm on 3 April 2008

The French high commission in Tahiti says the French President Nicolas Sarkozy has deferred his visit to French Polynesia originally planned for later this month.

This comes after public radio said the President was due in Papeete as planned and that his wife was to give a concert.

The report of the visit is believed to be the radio's April Fool's Day joke.

The high commission says although the trip had been planned for April, it has been deferred until a later unspecified date.

It says no reason for the postponement has been given.

The French government had announced the visit in November and confirmed it this year.

Relations with French Polynesia appeared to cool after the surprise return of Gaston Flosse to the presidency in February.

Mr Sarkozy's UMP Party severed all ties with Mr Flosse's Tahoeraa Huiraatira when Mr Flosse declined to enter into a coalition with the French-backed To Tatou Aia group.