31 Aug 2017

Gomes suggests MSG replaces FLNKS movement

5:52 pm on 31 August 2017

A leading New Caledonian politician has suggested that the territory's government replace the pro-independence FLNKS movement as member of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

Philippe Gomes

Philippe Gomes Photo: AFP

Philippe Gomes, who heads the Caledonia Together Party and is a member of the French Senate, made the suggestion as part of a drive to integrate New Caledonia in regional organisations.

He has hailed this week's unanimous vote by the Congress to approve New Caledonia joining the Pacific Islands Forum as a full member, saying this marks the end of almost 20 years of campaigning.

New Caledonia, along with French Polynesia, will be present as full Forum members for the first time at next week's summit in Samoa.

Mr Gomes said this had been made possible thanks to support from successive governments of France and the backing of Australia, New Zealand and Vanuatu.

He said New Caledonia should now try to join the MSG as well as other regional and international organisations.

The MSG has traditionally been advocating decolonisation while Mr Gomes' party is keen to keep New Caledonia within the French republic.

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