6 Mar 2012

De Villepin firmly behind New Caledonia's Noumea Accord

2:36 pm on 6 March 2012

The manager of the French presidential campaign of Dominique de Villepin says he is in favour of the absolute respect of New Caledonia's Noumea Accord.

The undertaking was made in a statement by Brigitte Girardin, who was the French overseas territories minister from 2002 to 2005.

She says Mr de Villepin, who is a former foreign, interior and prime minister, wants the fragile equilibrium in New Caledonia to be preserved.

Mrs Girardin says she regrets that during the term of Nicolas Sarkozy not all efforts were made to work towards a consensus.

The territory, which is to consider a possible independence referendum from 2014, last year saw several governments collapse as politicians fell out over the choice of flag as expression of a common New Caledonian identity.

Within the UMP Mr de Villepin has been in a power struggle with Mr Sarkozy which was highlighted in the so-called Clearstream affair.