Macron admits France’s guilt in the nuclear tests in French Polynesia, but has not apologized outside the country

French President Emmanuel Macron has admitted that his government “owes” French Polynesia for the nuclear tests France conducted on the islands from 1966 to 1996. No official apology has been issued. Macron is on a four-day state visit to the Pacific archipelago. It belongs to France, but has autonomy in several areas.

“I want truth and transparency,” the president said in a speech to the French Polynesian authorities. Earlier in the day, he had already told protesters that there would be more transparency on the issue. He did not explicitly apologize while the associations of nuclear test victims requested it.

radioactive radiation

In 1966, after seventeen nuclear tests in the desert, France conducted tests on French Polynesia, on the atolls of Mururoa and Fangatova. In thirty years, Paris has conducted 193 tests, above and below ground. The last time was in January 1996, after President Jacques Chirac decided to resume the trials, despite the suspension of his predecessor, François Mitterrand, three years earlier.

More than 100,000 residents of the archipelago were exposed to radioactive radiation during nuclear tests. After the tests, many people on the islands developed various types of cancer.

I can tell you that the army that executed them did not lie, they took the same risks. “There were no lies and uncalculated risks were taken, including by the army,” Macron said. “I think it’s true that we haven’t had similar experiments in Cruz or Brittany.”

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Victims demand compensation schemes from France. The president said that 11 files were completed with his election in 2017, and that there have been 187 files since then. “It is strong progress, but it is not enough,” Macron said, adding that the deadline for submitting the files would be extended. Today, only 63 people have received compensation from the French government.

Denton Watson

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