French President Chirac meets Pacific Island Leaders
Pape'ete, TAHITI (Oceania Flash/PIF/FSM Information Services): August 7, 2003 - President Joseph J. Urusemal was among the Leaders of the Pacific Islands recently in French Polynesia for a meeting with President Jacques Chirac of the French Republic.
Marking the first of its kind, the "French-Oceania" summit provided a unique opportunity for French President Chirac to meet with the heads of states and governments of the Pacific Islands to discussed avenues for closer economic, trade, cultural, scientific and technical cooperation with the Pacific Islands Forum.
The three underpinning themes of the "French-Oceania" summit, as introduced by the following Pacific Island Leaders, are:
President Chirac pledged to increase by 50%, France's official development assistance to the Pacific region between now and 2007. To kick-start the increase in assistance, the President said as of next year, France will double its allocation to the Economic, Social and Cultural Co-operation Fund for the Pacific to assist the development projects in the region. He promised France would continue to advocate the region's support in the European Union.
As a signatory to the Cotonou Agreement, the Federated States of Micronesia is among the 14 Pacific Island country members of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific group partnership with the European Union (ACP/EU). The FSM has been allocated 6.2 million euros, for the first four-year cycle of the 20-year agreement with the European Union, to implement projects in the areas of New and Renewable Sources of Energy.
President Chirac shared with the Pacific leaders his concern on issues of regional and international security, and the need for environmental preservation and cultural preservation for small island countries, specifically the need to "harmonize economic development with protection of the environment."
The French President went on to express his concerns of the effects of global warming have on small island countries and urge those countries who have not done so, to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.
President Chirac also proposed that the inauguration of the Quai Branly Museum in 2006, a museum that he founded and is currently under construction, will serve as an occasion for the leaders of the Pacific to join him in Paris to pay tribute to cultures of the Pacific and to continue dialogue in the spirit of friendship and trust.
The French Government has requested and arrangements are underway for a "stone money" from Yap to be displayed at the museum.
France has three territories in the Pacific: New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna.
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