14 Aug 2012

MSG delegation begins deferred New Caledonia visit

6:00 pm on 14 August 2012

A delegation of the Melanesian Spearhead Group has met New Caledonian leaders at the start of a four-day visit to evaluate the progress of the implementation of Noumea Accord.

The Accord is to pave the way for a possible independence referendum as part of the territory's decolonisation process.

The MSG delegation has met the Political Bureau of the pro-independence FLNKS, the representative of the French government, the Customary Senate and the Congress President.

It will go to Lifou on Wednesday and then travel to the northern province.

The visit was planned for early last month but was deferred amid objections to the delegation being led by the MSG chair, the Fiji regime leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

He reportedly never applied for a French visa after the election success of a New Caledonia's Philippe Gomes who said while he welcomed an MSG delegation there was no call to host the region's only dictator.