16 Dec 2008

French Polynesian senator lashes out at Paris nuke compo talks

4:14 pm on 16 December 2008

French Polynesia's new member of the French senate, Richard Tuheiava, has lashed out at this week's planned Paris talks aimed at drawing up a French law to compensate some of those who suffered poor health as a result of French nuclear weapons tests.

The plan was announced last month and after receiving a cautious welcome, it is being increasingly denounced as a move to curb the problem.

In a statement, Mr Tuheiava says the French plan is to make sure that the French state can escape responsibility.

The defence minister, Herve Morin, has invited some stakeholders to the Paris meeting, but not Mr Tuheiava and not the main French Polynesian nuclear veterans' group, Mururoa o tatou.

Among those attending the talks will be French Polynesia's other senator, Gaston Flosse, who has returned to Paris after spending just two days in Tahiti.

His departure comes as talks have been scheduled in Papeete later this week for top politicians to discuss the political impasse after the government last week lost its majority in the assembly.