French Polynesia’s pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru says high-level talks on France’s nuclear legacy due in Paris this month should be held at the United Nations in New York instead.
French President Emmanuel Macron called the meeting in response to a report which accused France of misleading the public about the fallout after a 1974 atmospheric weapons test.
Temaru said such a meeting should not be held in the capital of the colonising power, describing it as a sham.
He warned those attending that the French Polynesian people and its resources were not for sale.
While French Polynesia’s delegation is being finalised, the leading politicians of the late testing era, Temaru and Gaston Flosse, will not be present.
In the lead-up to the talks, the French social security agency CPS again called on the French state to reimburse it for the medical costs caused by its tests.
It said since 1995 it had paid out US$800 million to treat a total of 10,000 people suffering from any of the 23 cancers recognised by law as being the result of radiation.
Temaru said the money was a debt, pointing out that if a crime was committed it was not up to the victims to have to pay.
Between 1966 and 1996, France carried out 193 nuclear weapons tests in French Polynesia.
The test sites of Moruroa and Fangataufa atolls remain excised from French Polynesia and are French military no-go zones.
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This content originally appeared on Asia Pacific Report and was authored by APR editor.