" If you look at it in the “Pacific Way”, you can’t deny that our relisting on the U.N list, in 2013, also gave the Pacific leaders with a new perspective, where, even though, at this moment, we have not achieved full autonomy, at the end the road, when the UN process of self-determination is completed, we should reach that point."
GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE UNITED NATIONS
Special Political and Decolonization Committee
Mr Moetai BROTHERSON
Deputy Mayor of Faa’a.
Mr Chairman, distinguished delegates,
In 2004, for the first time, our then president of the government, Oscar TEMARU, sat at the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) as an associate member. From that year on, he has made it clear that we belong to the Pacific family, and as such, should be entitled full membership as soon as we reached a state of true self-governing.
The same aspiration to become full-member of the PIF came from Kanaky-New Caledonia around the same time. At that time, that aspiration was not favored by France.
In 2011, in Auckland, France’s foreign minister, Alain Juppé, came to the Forum to clearly state that France, not New Caledonia, not French Polynesia had a huge territory, and a vast amount of natural resources in the South Pacific.
Clearly, from 2004 up to 2013, France did not support that idea, sometimes even clearly opposing it, especially when Oscar TEMARU, the independence leader was in charge.
On the Forum’s side up to 2013, even though everyone heard the requests from Mä’ohi nui and Kanaky, our Pacific brothers were held bound by the Forum rules that you need to be self-governing to sit as a full member.
But then, something special happened, on 17th May 2013, here in this building: French Polynesia, despite France’s heavy lobbying got back on the list of non-self-governing territories to be decolonized.
One year after that historical event, and even though it publicly went in a state of Denial, our administering power started rolling-out the full range of its diplomatic apparatus in the background, to “avenge”, what they still consider a diplomatic blow. Most of you know well that these colonial powers are more prone to come here to give than to be taught lessons about democracy or decolonization.
From the COP 21 to the France-Océanie meeting in Paris, from the prime minister’s visit to New-Zealand and Australia to the president’s visit in Wallis and French Polynesia, France now made it clear that they wanted to reaffirm their presence in the Pacific region, and, they started to send the message that they were now supporting the idea of full membership within the Pacific Forum for New Caledonia and French Polynesia. They needed Trojan horses in the Pacific.
So, who really got us thru the last door of the Pacific Forum? Was it really our local government? The answer came from Ms Ericka Bareigts, the newly appointed minister of overseas whose first public statement clearly stated that the full admission to the Forum was first and foremost the result of French Diplomacy.
At the same time, the Pacific leaders also made it clear that their agreeing to our full membership did not mean that we had suddenly become truly self-governing, but was done for cultural and economic reasons, and also political reasons related to France’s Lobbying.
But if you look at it in the “Pacific Way”, you can’t deny that our relisting on the U.N list, in 2013, also gave the Pacific leaders with a new perspective, where, even though, at this moment, we have not achieved full autonomy, at the end the road, when the UN process of self-determination is completed, we should reach that point.
So we may say, that our relisting on the UN list, in 2013 gave France bad reasons to want us in the Forum, but at the same gave our Pacific brothers a noble motivation to welcome us in.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.