28 Apr 2015

Paris talks welcomed by New Caledonia parties

2:47 pm on 28 April 2015

A leading anti-independence party in New Caledonia has welcomed the announcement that Paris will shortly organise top-level discussions on the electoral law as it to be finalised for the independence referendum due by 2018.

The Caledonia Together Party says it seems indispensable that a common approach can be found before the law is put to the French legislature.

The Paris talks, which will be chaired by the French prime minister, Manuel Valls, will involve the signatories of the 1998 Noumea Accord and will be held before the French Senate reviews the law proposal in June.

People take part in a demonstration on April 24, 2015 in Noumea, New-Caledonia, called by two right wing UMP affiliated parties to codemn the French Governemnt policy about New-Caledonia forced march towards independance.

Right-wing parties rally in Noumea against New Caledonia's possible independence and the Socialist government in France Photo: AFP

The anti-independence side has sharply criticised the French government over the proposed law, accusing it of siding with the pro-independence camp.

A majority in the territory's Congress voted against the law proposal which would automatically enrol only indigenous Kanaks.

Thousands of people took to the streets of Noumea on Friday to say they want to stay French.

The French government has repeatedly said it is impartial in the decolonisation process, but loyalists accuse it of favouring independence for New Caledonia.