Courtesy Reuters

THE French Union, the successor to the French Empire, is composed under the Constitution of 1946 of France and four categories of overseas dependencies. There are the overseas departments (Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana and Réunion) which are completely assimilated to the administrative units of metropolitan France. There are the former colonies, now overseas territories. There also are two types of communities with a separate existence recognized in international law: the associated territories, or trustee areas, under the control of the United Nations (Togo and Cameroun); and the associated states, possessing their own political governments. Viet-Nam, Laos and Cambodia have requested

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