26 Aug 2011

French President heads to New Caledonia

10:23 am on 26 August 2011

The French president Nicolas Sarkozy is due to arrive in New Caledonia this morning for his first presidential visit to the Pacific.

He is due to open the Pacific Games tomorrow and also meet the territory's political leaders.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"Nicolas Sarkozy is on his way from meeting his Chinese counterpart in Beijing to discuss the euro zone debt crisis and the conflict in Libya. In Noumea, he is expected to engage with local politicians as the territory is to agree on a way forward once the Noumea Accord on greater autonomy expires. The decolonisation process has this year come unstuck over the choice of flag, triggering the collapse of four collegial governments. Security will also be on the agenda after a rise in crime this year amid widespread unease over the high cost of living. Public servants have been given today off to mark the visit."