8 Jul 2011

New Caledonia leaders meet over Noumea Accord

6:56 am on 8 July 2011

The French prime minister will today host New Caledonia's leaders for a review of the 1998 Noumea Accord which comes just weeks before the President, Nicolas Sarkozy, is due to visit Noumea.

The talks follow months of political instability that saw Paris last week change New Caledonia's electoral law.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"The talks chaired by Francois Fillon will be the second within a month with all of New Caledonia's top politicians as they are to chart the next step in the phased and irreversible transfer of power from France to New Caledonia. The discussions are expected to pick up key elements of last year's agenda and seek a consensus on where to go once the Noumea Accord expires in 2018. Today's talks come amid a yet unresolved dispute over which flag the territory should choose - an issue that prompted four governments to collapse this year. With the electoral law now changed last week, Paris hopes to have restored stability as in late August Nicolas Sarkozy will make his first Pacific trip of his presidency."