Two French experts have begun a week of talks with New Caledonian leaders about the final phase of the decolonisation process.
Their visit has stirred controversy, with a main anti-independence leader saying the team is too heavily weighted in favour of the Socialists.
Walter Zweifel reports.
"Jean-Francois Merle and Alain Christnacht were among the architects of the 1998 Noumea Accord which has been the road map for the territory's move towards greater autonomy. In early October, the territory's leaders will be in Paris to progress their work under the auspices of the French prime minister Manuel Valls. The two envoys are to gauge views, analyse and advise as New Caledonia is to hold an independence referendum by 2018. But disagreements persist, most notably about the make-up of the electoral list which run so deep that one of the major parties may boycott the Paris talks."