18 Oct 2007

French PM to call Noumea Accord review meeting

12:06 pm on 18 October 2007

The French prime minister, Francois Fillon, has announced that he will personally convene the follow-up committee overseeing New Caledonia's Noumea Accord on greater autonomy.

Mr Fillon has told the French assembly that he will call the meeting in Paris before the end of the year.

The meeting is to review progress on the 1998 accord which had been signed by the territory's main pro- and anti-independence parties and the French state, and sets out an irreversible process to transfer powers from Paris to Noumea.

The phased shift will culminate in a referendum on possible independence by no later than 2018.

Mr Fillon says his government will ensure that the accord is adhered to amid concern that its implementation is being delayed.

Last weekend, the pro-independence FLNKS movement said the recent call by the French minister in charge of overseas territories for a bigger French role in the territory appears to contradict the spirit of the Noumea Accord.