26 Oct 2020

Lecornu urges New Caledonia to tone down rhetoric

1:35 pm on 26 October 2020

The French overseas minister Sebastien Lecornu has warned New Caledonians against blackmail by saying violence - as seen in the 1980s - could return.

Sebastien Lecornu at New Caledonia House in Paris.

Minister Sebastien Lecornu at New Caledonia House in Paris before he left Photo: supplied FB French Overseas Ministry

The minister, who was speaking in Noumea after exiting two weeks of quarantine, has begun talks with political leaders after the second referendum on independence three weeks ago.

The anti-independence side, which narrowly won the plebiscite, is strongly opposed to a third referendum, raising the spectre of murderous violence, should such a vote proceed in two years.

The pro-independence side already said it will trigger the third referendum in line with provisions of the Noumea Accord, which France said it would honour.

Lecornu said it mustn't be allowed that excessive words destroy efforts to have a dialogue.

He also took umbrage at claims by the anti-independence side that France had been passive and inactive in dealing with the latest referendum.