The French President has told Vanuatu leaders he will provide financial assistance to the country and look into the dispute over two small islands between Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

Emmanuel Macron has left for Papua New Guinea after his visit to Port Vila.

More than 4000 people welcomed him on Thursday evening to the 7th Melanesian Arts Festival in the capital.

Vanuatu Prime Minister Ishmael Kalsakau told the crowd that Macron said to him he will put large sum of money into Vanuatu.

He said the president told him that France will rebuild the French primary and secondary schools of Melsisi on the island of Pentecost which was damaged by cyclone Harold a few years ago.

The main discussion between the two leaders was the geopolitical situation within the region and they also talked about the contribution of France to the education of Vanuatu, climate change and security.

Macron said that he had good talks with Kalsakau during his one-day visit.

“I am not only here as a foreign head of State but I am your neighbour,” said Macron to the crowd.

Concerning the issue of Matthew and Hunter islands in the southern part of Vanuatu, Kalsakau did not specifically mention the names of the islands but only said they have agreed to resolve the issue of land in the south of Vanuatu.

“Macron told me that we will resolve the issue of land in the south between now and December,” Kalsakau said.

Before the arrival of Macron, chiefs and political leaders urged Kalsakau to tell him that the islands are an integral part of Vanuatu.

Also during his stay in Vanuatu, Macron met with the Vanuatu President, Nikenike Vurobaravu, and participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the War Memorial, alongside Kalsakau.

It is the first time a French President has visited Vanuatu.

Vanuatu is the only Pacific state with French as an official language and there is a French community of more than 2000 people.

On the first leg of his Pacific tour in Noumea, Macron said he would forge ahead with processing a new statute for New Caledonia, replacing the 1998 Noumea Accord.