18 Feb 2011

Paris urges on Noumea Accord implementation after government collapse

11:14 am on 18 February 2011

The French overrseas territories minister, Marie-Luce Penchard, says a prioritiy remains for New Caledonia's Noumea Accord to be implemented.

Her comment follows yesterday's collapse of the territory's collegial government amid disagreements of how to interpret the accord's provisions.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"Marie Luce-Penchard says it is important that the spirit and timetable of the Noumea Accord continue to be respected by all sides. This comes after the pro-independence ministers quit the government purportedly because the President Philippe Gomes didn't endorse the new roadmap adopted last year which calls for the French and Kanak flags to be hoisted jointly on public buildings. Mr Gomes insists on the letter of the Noumea Accord which calls for the territory to adopt a new flag to express New Caledonia's identity. Meanwhile, the National Front in Paris has issued a statement to say that the only flag to be flown in New Caledonia should be the French tricolore in line with article two of the French constitution."