Former French prime minister Manuel Valls has hit back at a leading left-wing politician Jean-Luc Melenchon for his comments after pulling out of the parliamentary mission to New Caledonia.
A team of the French National Assembly is being set up to visit New Caledonia before its independence referendum next year.
Mr Valls said Mr Melenchon's protest letter resigning from the mission was outrageous and showed contempt for New Caledonians.
After Mr Valls was made the mission's head last week, Mr Melechon pulled out in protest, and described him as a "most inappropriate" choice.
He wrote that Mr Valls was "an extremely divisive person" who was close to the ethnicist theories of the extreme right.
The Assembly president Francois de Rugy said the mission was set up in accordance with parliamentary rules ensuring that no political force was excluded.
Earlier last week, Mr Valls said he wanted things in New Caledonia to evolve in a way so that everbody could find their place in the life of the French nation.
A date for the mission's visit to New Caledonia is yet to be set.