26 May 2008

French Polyneisa due to sign US$280 deal with Paris today

5:45 am on 26 May 2008

The French Polynesian president, Gaston Tong Sang, is today due to sign a development contract in France worth 280 million US dollars over five years.

This comes after the assembly in Papeete finally approved the deal which had not been ready when Mr Tong Sang met the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, last Thursday.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"The assistance package will be in addition to the annual 2 billion dollar transfers from France to French Polynesia."

The deal is to be signed by the interior minister who is also in charge of overseas communities, Michele Aliot-Marie, after Mr Tong Sang had said he would meet Mr Sarkozy within a month or two again to formalise the accord.

Mr Tong Sang has met about 10 French ministers in a week in Paris and announced that Mr Sarkozy would be in Tahiti in January.

He was already due in April but deferred the official visit indefinitely after the territorial assembly chose Gaston Flosse as president to the dismay of France ruling UMP Party.

It has since severed all ties to the party of Mr Flosse who lost office after two of his supporters switched sides to Mr Tong Sang's side.