17 Mar 2016

French experts hold New Caledonia talks

2:44 pm on 17 March 2016

Two French experts have been holding discussions in Noumea about New Caledonia's institutional future as a referendum is due to be held by 2018.

Downtown Noumea (capital of New Caledonia)

Downtown Noumea. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

A former minister and high commissioner, Alain Christnacht, and another former high commissioner to New Caledonia, Yves Dassonville, are meeting a broad range of stakeholders.

The Noumea Accord, which is a tri-partite deal signed by pro- and anti-independence parties as well as the French state, runs out in 2018 without an agreed way forward.

The committee of the Accord signatories is due to meet in France in September or October to again discuss their differences.

There is no referendum question ready yet while calls persist that a vote should be forgone and a new accord drawn up to defer the plebiscite.

The French prime minister, Manuel Valls, was due in Noumea this month to progress the discussions, but deferred the trip until next month.

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