8 May 2019

Sovereignty is only way for New Caledonia - Neaoutyine

10:25 am on 8 May 2019

The president of New Caledonia's northern province says attaining full sovereignty is the only way out of the 1998 Noumea Accord.

President of New Caledonia's Northern Province Paul Neaoutyine

President of New Caledonia's Northern Province Paul Neaoutyine Photo: RNZ Walter Zweifel

Speaking just days before the provincial elections, Paul Neaoutyine said once the Accord runs out, one cannot imagine extending yet another statute to keep New Caledonia within France.

Mr Neaoutyine said the Accord, which provides for a gradual decolonisation, does lead to only one conclusion which is sovereignty.

He said a sterile dialogue had become exhausted, leaving the options of discussing a partnership with France or for his pro-independence side to hold direct negotiations with Paris.

He also said a 2013 report commissioned by France listed four options of an institutional future, with one being full sovereignty in a partnership.

Mr Neaoutyine, who is a veteran pro-independence politician, said there was talk of the political landscape remaining the same for when the next independence referendums are possible in 2020 and 2022.

However, he said he disagreed and believed this can change as more people of all walks of life join up to his plan for the future.

In last November's first referendum under the Noumea Accord, just over 56 percent of voters rejected independence which was a far lower number than predicted.

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