30 Jan 2023

Darmanin back in New Caledonia in March to work on a new statute

8:23 am on 30 January 2023
New Caledonia, Noumea, 2022-11-28. The Minister of the Interior and Overseas Territories Gerald Darmanin and the Minister Delegate in charge of Overseas Territories Jean Francois Carenco lay a wreath in Place Bir Hakeim in Noumea during their first joint official visit to New Caledonia. Photograph by Clotilde Richalet / Hans Lucas.
Nouvelle Caledonie, Noumea, 2022-11-28. Le Ministre de l Interieur et des Outre Mer Gerald Darmanin et le Ministre delegue charge des Outre Mer Jean Francois Carenco effectuent un depot de gerbe Place Bir Hakeim a Noumea lors de leur premier visite officielle conjointe en Nouvelle Caledonie. Photographie par Clotilde Richalet / Hans Lucas. (Photo by Clotilde Richalet / Hans Lucas / Hans Lucas via AFP)

The French interior minister Gerald Darmanin speaking to reporters Photo: Clotilde Richalet / Hans Lucas / Hans Lucas via AFP

The French interior minister Gerald Darmanin is due back in New Caledonia in early March to advance work on a new statute for the territory.

The news agency AFP reports the minister will be in Noumea between March 2 and 8.

After a week of wide-ranging talks in New Caledonia at the end of last year, Darmanin agreed to hold off bilateral discussions with the pro-independence FLNKS until it has held its congress.

In three referendums, New Caledonia rejected full sovereignty, but the FLNKS refuses to recognise the third vote, held in December 2021, as the legitimate outcome of the decolonisation process.

With the conclusion of the 1998 Noumea Accord, a new statute needs to be drawn up.

Darmanin's predecessor planned a referendum on a new statute in June this year, but no document has been produced and Paris no longer plans to hold any referendum in New Caledonia during the term of President Emmanuel Macron.

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