27 Aug 2011

Sarkozy urges New Caledonia politicians to compromise

5:12 am on 27 August 2011

The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has called for compromise in New Caledonia as the territory has been facing growing dissent in its decolonisation process.

Mr Sarkozy made the call in talks with local politicians in Noumea yesterdy on the first day of a visit which includes him opening the Pacific Games today .

He says he is convinced that also within the pro-independence camp there is an attachment to France and a shared history.

Mr Sarkozy says there is also disquiet over going separate ways which, he says, means there is a need for compromise.

In line with the Noumea Accord, the territory is due to hold a referendum on self-determination between 2014 and 2018, but several parties are weighing up a new deal to avoid a referendum.

Responding to this month's fatal clashes near the airport of Mare, Mr Sarkozy says the territory cannot afford violence, vowing to find and punish those responsible for the shootings.

And reacting to a rise in crime, he has announced that Paris will send 70 more police to New Caledonia and double the number of police vehicles.