20 Feb 2014

French walk-out at New Caledonia government meeting

3:13 pm on 20 February 2014

The French high commissoner to New Caledonia has walked out of a sitting of the territory's collegial government after allegedly being provoked.

Jean-Jacques Brot has told the AFP news agency that the vice-president, Gilbert Tyuienon, displayed an aggressive and provocative attitude.

There are conflicting reports about whether Mr Tyuienon used condescending words during the meeting.

One official says the walk-out is linked to Mr Brot's recently aborted trip to Canala where Mr Tyuienon is the mayor.

He says the visit was planned on condition that Mr Brot lay a wreath in Canala on the grave of a Kanak pro-independence leader, Eloi Machoro, who was killed in 1985 by a French anti-terror unit.

Mr Brot says he regrets the blackmail and is awating the next meeting of the New Caledonian government.