French Polynesia takes further step towards Forum membership

8:38 am on 18 August 2017

An extraordinary sitting of French Polynesia's assembly has been called today to advance the formal steps for the territory to become a full member of the Pacific Islands Forum.

Last year's Forum summit admitted French Polynesia and New Caledonia as full members but the documents for the proper accession have yet to be finalised.

Radio 1 reported that the assembly in Tahiti was now due to vote on the accession document after it was approved by the French foreign ministry earlier this year.

It also reported that a French version of the text then needed to be submitted to the Forum.

For the full membership to become effective, it said a formal agreement needed to be signed between the Forum secretariat and the French government, which represents French Polynesia internationally.

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Photo: RNZ

Radio 1 reported that an assembly committee had raised questions about the Forum's attitude towards next year's independence referendum in New Caledonia.

After years of lobbying, the two territories were admitted as full members last year without the Forum explaining the change and nature of the accession criteria.

Full membership was first suggested by the French president Jacques Chirac in 2003 - seven years after France stopped testing its nuclear weapons in the Pacific.

The next Forum summit will be held in Samoa next month.

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