France's top official in New Caledonia has resigned just hours after the new French overseas minister began her first visit to Noumea.
There has been no official confirmation of his departure, which is believed to be due to disagreements over the French government's policies.
Walter Zweifel reports.
The high commissioner, Jean-Jacques Brot, was on duty when the minister George Pau-Langevin addressed the territorial Congress and announced the sending of two senior envoys to advise in the decolonisation process.
Shortly afterwards, he quit his job and is quoted as saying he was not a stooge.
The minister said it was not in her powers to make him keep his post but wished he would have stayed on until the end of her current visit, which is to pave the way for broad talks on the territory's future in Paris in two months.
Under the terms of the Noumea Accord, a referendum on independence has to be organised by 2018.