21 Oct 2020

Lecornu begins New Caledonia consultations

3:12 pm on 21 October 2020

The French Overseas Minister, Sebastien Lecornu, has started consultations with New Caledonian leaders from his quarantine quarters at the French High Commission in Noumea.

Sebastien Lecornu

French Overseas Minister, Sebastien Lecornu Photo: AFP or licensors

The minister arrived less than a week after New Caledonia narrowly voted for the status quo in the second referendum on independence from France.

According to his office, several discussions are scheduled via video link daily with New Caledonia's leading politicians representing both anti and pro-independence parties.

The pro-French camp wants support from Paris to avoid a third independence referendum in two years while the pro-independence FLNKS movement decided last weekend that it would invoke such a vote, which is possible under the Noumea Accord guaranteed in the French Constitution.

The French president said French political forces would have to draw up their vision of the future of New Caledonia.

Before the referendum the French prime minister, Jean Castex, had said that he would meet New Caledonia's leaders as soon as practicable.