27 Feb 2014

France says UN team in New Caledonia for routine talks

7:02 pm on 27 February 2014

The French overseas territories minister, Victorin Lurel, says a UN team is due in New Caledonia at the beginning of March amid urgent calls by several anti-independence parties for France to stop it.

Mr Lurel says the UN team will be on a working visit as part of ongoing co-operation between France, the UN and the New Caledonian government which is linked to the decolonisation process launched in 1986.

The minister says the UN team will not check on the revision of the electoral roll for the May provincial election which has been at the centre of sharp disagreements within the territory's political class.

Mr Lurel says if there are concerns it will be up to the courts to determine who is eligible to vote.

The pro-independence FLNKS says it wants more than 6,700 names struck off the roll while the rival anti-independence camp has called for a constitutional change and a delay of the elections.