10 Jul 2012

French National Assembly members reiterate stand against Bainimarama visit

7:53 pm on 10 July 2012

New Caledonia's members of the French National Assembly have again spoken out against a planned visit to Noumea by the leader of Fiji's regime.

Last month, the trip was called off only days after Fiji confirmed that Commodore Frank Bainimarama would lead a ministerial delegation as chair of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"Philippe Gomes, the former president of New Caledonia and now one of its members of the French National Assembly, says he still welcomes an MSG team to look at the implementation of the Noumea Accord on greater autonomy. After earlier saying there was no call to host the region's only dictator, Mr Gomes now says the MSG team should not be led by someone who came to power using arms. The MSG secretariat says the trip was postponed on advice from the French embassy in Suva which says it was never asked to issue the Fiji delegates a visa. No new travel dates have been given, nor a date for next year's MSG summit in New Caledonia."