13 Jan 2009

French minister cans talks after overseas delegates arrive in Paris

3:58 pm on 13 January 2009

The French defence minister, Herve Morin, has deferred tomorrow's scheduled Paris meeting about a nuclear test compensation law by a month shortly after overseas delegates, including four from French Polynesia, arrived in France.

It is not clear why Tuesday's talks were called off but the decision has surprised some of those due to discuss a French plan to consider paying compensation for those affected by 30 years of French nuclear weapons testing.

In November, France abandoned its claim that its nuclear weapons tests in the South Pacific were clean and Mr Morin called a first meeting before Christmas to discuss the matter.

French Polynesia's two members of the French senate and its two members of the French assembly travelled 20,0000 kilometers to find out that next set of discussions is now due on February the 7th.

One of them, Bruno Sandras, has told Tahitipresse the delay of the meeting may be linked to an imminent French cabinet re-shuffle.

According to RFO radio, the French Polynesian opposition wonders whether Mr Morin thought Papeete was among the suburbs of Paris and accessible by a local train.