27 Sep 2005

French mediator says Wallis crisis not over

5:13 pm on 27 September 2005

The French mediator sent to defuse the rebellion in Wallis says the crisis is not over.

Louis Lefranc, who arrived from New Caledonia on Sunday, says traditional reconciliation has to follow the dispute which last week led to roadblocks by armed supporters of the king, the Lavelua Tomasi Kulimoetoke.

Violence erupted after a group of reformist nobles said they wanted to install one of their own as monarch but as the blockade was tightened, they abandoned the planned coronation ceremony.

Mr Lefranc says his main task was to avoid bloodshed which meant that police didn't approach the roadblocks.

The French state has re-affirmed its recognition of the king whose backers have removed the roadblocks.

He also says that he has been given guarantees that the king's rivals won't face reprisals.