Tahiti, New Caledonia granted PIF membership

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FRENCH territories New Caledonia and Tahiti have been granted membership of the Pacific Islands Forum.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, chairing a forum meeting in Pohnpei, Micronesia, said the leaders decided to grow their membership by granting full membership to French Polynesia and New Caledonia.
O’Neill said the decision could be seen as “somewhat controversial”.
But he was comfortable with bringing the two French nations to the Forum.
“French Polynesia and New Caledonia are important territories in the Pacific and this is a wise decision,” O’Neill said.
“Together they have a population of well over half a million people.
“French Polynesia and New Caledonia trade within our region and their people are Pacific islanders.
“Even though they are French territories, their leaders will firmly represent the views of their local populations.
“Through French Polynesia and New Caledonia, we also have another linkage to the European Union.
“In recent years, France and the broader European Union have become increasingly important trading partners for Papua New Guinea and the Pacific.
“We are going through the process of opening a PNG embassy in Paris, and we see trade going from our country to the EU through France about to have a serious increase.”

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