8 May 2015

New Caledonia talks set for June

3:22 pm on 8 May 2015

A date has been set for top-level talks in France to discuss the electoral roll for the independence referendum due in New Caledonia by 2018.

Reports from Noumea say Monday June the 5th has been set aside for the prime minister, Manuel Valls, to chair an extraordinary meeting of the signatories of the Noumea Accord, which is the territory's decolonisation roadmap.

A law defining the electoral roll for the referendum is due for debate in France's bicameral legislature next month.

The bill is strongly opposed by the territory's anti-independence parties, which object to provisions giving automatic registration to indigenous people only.

Last month a mass rally was called in Noumea, with the loyalists accusing the French government of supporting the pro-independence side.

The French government has however said it is guided by the interpretations of the courts.

Two main parties in New Caledonia have called for the Paris meeting to be put off.

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