31 Jul 2017

Final Noumea Accord talks due in Paris by November

7:30 pm on 31 July 2017

The French overseas minister has confirmed that the final meeting of the signatories to the Noumea Accord before New Caledonia's independence referendum will be held in Paris.

Annick Girardin

Annick Girardin Photo: AFP

Annick Girardin said they would meet this year in late October or early November and the French prime minister Edouard Philippe will visit New Caledonia in December.

The vote on independence will be in November next year unless a three-fifth majority in the New Caledonian Congress chooses an earlier date.

The signatories' meeting, which involves both anti- and pro-independence politicians as well as the French state, is to approve the referendum question and the electoral roll which is restricted to long-term residents.

Disagreement persists on who should be allowed to vote while some loyalists worry that a plebiscite could re-ignite tension.

The Noumea Accord, which has provided for a phased and irreversible transfer of powers, is to expire with a decision on whether Paris or Noumea should hold the remaining powers, such as over defence, justice and money.

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