17 Jun 2003

New Caledonian party to boycott Noumea accord review

6:37 am on 17 June 2003

New Caledonia's biggest pro-independence party has announced a boycott of today's scheduled talks on the Noumea accord to held with the French minister in charge of overseas territories, Brigitte Girardin.

The Caledonian Union is the main group in the FLNKS movement which signed the 1998 accord on greater autonomy with the anti-independence RPCR Party and the French state.

The review is to be held for the first time in Kone, in the mainly Kanak northern province, after earlier meetings were held in Paris or alternatively in Noumea.

On arrival in Noumea yesterday Mrs Girardin called for a deepened dialogue.

The Caledonian Union says the accord has been derailed by the RPCR and has accused the French state of failing to guarantee the legality of the accord.

The comment is seen as a reference to the French state's failure to change the constitution as promised.

The proposed change is to freeze the territory's electorate ahead of future key votes on New Caledonia's status.