Vanuatu: negotiations with France on maritime boundaries

Maritime boundary negotiations between Vanuatu and France, which include an unresolved dispute on the sovereignty over the Matthew Island and the Hunter Island, and their respective 190 000 sq km EEZ, are under way. Those islands are claimed by Vanuatu as part of its southernmost Tafea Province since 1929, but France claims them to be part of New Caledonia since 1976 (i.e. prior to Vanuatu’s independence in 1980). According to Vanuatu’s Prime Minister, New Caledonia’s Front de Libération Nationale Kanak et Socialiste party coalition has now recognized the islands as part of “Vanuatu National Heritage”, opening the door for “dialogue and negotiation between Vanuatu Government and the Government of France on maritime boundaries”. These negotiations are set to happen amidst debate around the referendum on the independence of New Caledonia, scheduled May 2018. The full statement of Vanuatu’s Prime Minister may be found here.


Map of New Caledonia and Vanuatu, Oceania, featuring Mathhew and Hunter Islands under New Caledonia’s jurisdiction. (Wikimedia Commons)

Leave a comment

Filed under State Practice

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.