6 Oct 2014

French PM to visit New Caledonia

10:20 am on 6 October 2014

The French prime minister, Manuel Valls, says he will visit New Caledonia next year as the territory is in its last phase of the decolonisation process outlined by the 1998 Noumea Accord.

Mr Valls made the announcement in Paris where he hosted New Caledonian leaders for the annual review of the Accord which provides for a referendum by 2018 on possible independence from France.

Although Mr Valls said the talks were fruitful, they were marked by the sudden departure of a leading anti-independence delegate, Pierre Frogier, who is unhappy with the ruling Socialists' stance on the process.

The talks were boycotted by the main pro-independence party, the Caledonian Union, which objects to the way the French authorities have managed the electoral rolls of those who will be eligible to vote in the referendum.

The French President, Francois Hollande, is due to visit Noumea next month.

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Photo: RNZ