1 Dec 2015

French minister wants end of Wallis blockade

1:20 pm on 1 December 2015

The French overseas minister has called for an end to the blockade of the airport of Wallis which has been shut since the beginning of last week.

George Pau-Langevin

George Pau-Langevin Photo: AFP

George Pau-Langevin made the call in her first comment since disgruntled villagers began their action to back their demand that two locals be hired by the airport company.

She says the airport occupation is illegal.

According to the territory's public broadcaster, she has denied reports that her office has received a request by Wallisian chiefs to appoint a mediator.

Last Wednesday, the territory's prefect secured an order from the court of appeal in New Caledonia that the airport be opened immediately, threatening five Wallisian chiefs with a daily US$900 fine each for non-compliance.

The chiefs have ignored both the court ruling and the requests by the French prefect, saying they are still waiting for their letter to the minister to be delivered.

The blockade, which has affected mainly links with New Caledonia, has stranded hundreds of people and is causing growing disruption.

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Photo: AFP