Richard Marles’ visit to Paris (Jan. 26, 2012)
Richard Marles, Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, was in Paris on the 26th of January to meet with Minister for Development Coordination Henri de Raincourt, Minister for Overseas Territories Marie-Luce Penchard and French senators and National Assembly members with interests in the Pacific.
Cooperation between Australia and France in the Pacific were on the agenda.
Mr. Marles said his discussions meant to focus on Australia’s engagement with the French territories of New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna.
“The Pacific is a key area of cooperation in our relationship with France.
“I visited all three French Pacific territories in my first year as Parliamentary Secretary to demonstrate Australia’s commitment to building a stronger Pacific region. Australia is committed to working with France and its territories to strengthen ties with their Pacific neighbours.”
Mr. Marles’ visit came a week after Mr. Rudd and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé signed a Joint Statement of Strategic Partnership, underlining the strength of engagement across all areas of the Australia-France relationship.
“Under the Joint Statement, we will work more closely on issues such as responding to natural disasters and sustainably managing ocean resources.”
Mr. Marles reiterated Australia’s support for New Caledonia’s application to become a full member of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF).
Australia has especially close ties with New Caledonia and is a strong supporter of its political and economic integration into the region.”
New Caledonia and French Polynesia are currently associate members of the PIF. Wallis and Futuna is a PIF observer.