27 Aug 2014

Talks urged ahead of New Caledonia summit

2:14 pm on 27 August 2014

The new French High Commissioner to New Caledonia says there should be discussions in the territory before the signatories of the Noumea Accord meet in Paris in October.

New Caledonia is in its last phase of the 1998 Accord on greater autonomy and its Congress is tasked with organising an independence referendum by 2018.

Speaking on local radio, Vincent Bouvier says the Paris talks are scheduled for October the third and to be chaired by the prime minister, Manuel Valls.

The key topics to be tackled include the exit from the Noumea Accord, the make-up of the electoral list of those entitled to vote in the referendum, the transfer of power from Paris to Noumea and the use of the territory's vast nickel resource.

Mr Bouvier says he is collecting views on a court opinion on who is allowed to vote as there have been sharply different interpretations of the Accord's wording.

He says preliminiary discussions would help to find a quick way to adopt a mutually agreed position.

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Photo: AFP