5 Jun 2015

Paris hosts New Caledonia talks

8:20 am on 5 June 2015

The French prime minister, Manuel Valls, is today due to host New Caledonian leaders in Paris in a bid to resolve the dispute over who is allowed to vote in New Caledonia's independence referendum.

The French prime minister, Manuel Valls,

The French prime minister, Manuel Valls. Photo: AFP

The vote is due by 2018 but there are strong disagreements on the proposed make-up of the roll which is to be debated and approved by the French Senate later this month.

Walter Zweifel reports.

The bill adopted by the French government only provides for automatic registration of indigenous people and those who voted in the 1998 Noumea Accord referendum.

The anti-independence side is strongly opposed to these terms and wants them changed, with a top politician, Pierre Frogier, accusing the French government of spreading hate and discord in the territory.

In April, a mass rally against independence was held in Noumea, with the loyalists accusing the French government of supporting the pro-independence side.

That protest and continued anger prompted Paris to convene today's special meeting of the signatories of the Noumea Accord in the hope of reaching an agreement on who will get on the roll.

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