Matthew and Hunter islands

Amicable resolution sought over disputed Matthew and Hunter Islands

The Vanuatu Daily Post reported that last month the two countries concluded a second round of maritime boundary negotiations in Belgium.

The disputed islands lie south-south-east of Vanuatu and New Caledonia and have been the cause of recent tensions after a French naval mission landed in January and planted their flag.

Vanuatu claims sovereignty over Matthew and Hunter.

Dominion of the islands includes the surrounding ocean and seabed with its commensurate commercial prospects.

Vanuatu foreign minister rejects calls to expel French diplomat

Mr Reganvanu was responding to calls from the opposition leader in Vanuatu, Ishmael Kalsakau, for the Charge d'Affaires to be expelled in order to send a clear signal to Paris over the Matthew and Hunter islands.

The small uninhabited islands are claimed by both Vanuatu and France which have been holding talks to agree maritime boundaries.

Mr Regenvanu said declaring the French diplomat "persona non grata" is not the right thing to do.

Vanuatu and France hold border negotiations

The two small and uninhabited volcanic islands are located 300 kilometres east of New Caledonia and south east of Aneityum at the southern end of the Vanuatu archipelago.

They are claimed by Vanuatu as part of its southern most Tafea Province but France also claimed them to be part of New Caledonia.

The University of Sydney is hosting negotiations between the French and Vanuatu delegations on delimitation of their shared border and the issue of sovereignty over the islands.

NZ regrets lack of notice to Vanuatu for vessel's trip

The ship, Braveheart, carried a marine science team from New Zealand around the islands, over which Vanuatu and France are locked in a protracted dispute.

The uninhabited islands have been claimed by both countries for decades, after France annexed them for New Caledonia shortly before Vanuatu was granted independence.

The New Zealand team led by the Auckland War Memorial Museum had asked the government in New Caledonia if it could carry out research in the area, but not Vanuatu.

Vanuatu hopes for talks with France on disputed islands

RNZ reports Vanuatu's foreign minister Bruno Leingkon is travelling to Europe for talks with the European Union and bilateral talks with the French government.

Both Vanuatu and France claim the remote islands which lie to Vanuatu's south.

Mr Leingkon told parliament last month he had been invited over by the French to discuss a way forward for Matthew and Hunter on 26 January.

A spokesman for the minister Charles Lini says it is still not clear what is on the table but the issue is an important one for Vanuatu.