31 Mar 2016

Valls due in New Caledonia in late April

12:09 pm on 31 March 2016
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls. Photo: AFP

Reports from France say the prime minister Manuel Valls will visit New Caledonia for three days from 29th April.

He was due to arrive in Noumea this month, but put off the trip amid debates about labour law reforms.

The prime minister will continue talks with local leaders about preparations for New Caledonia's independence referendum due by 2018 and the situation of the nickel sector, which is the territory's economic backbone.

Two expert sent by Paris spent a week in Noumea this month for talks with the territory's decision-makers about the territory's institutional future.

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.

Their last meeting was held in Paris last month and was chaired by Mr Valls.