26 Aug 2011

French leader Sarkozy to meet politicians in New Caledonia

4:46 pm on 26 August 2011

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is in New Caledonia on his first presidential visit to the Pacific.

Mr Sarkozy, who made a brief stop-over in China, is accompanied by government ministers and sport personalities.

He is due to open the Pacific Games on Saturday and also meet political leaders of the territory.

At the forefront of discussions will be a new plan for the territory as it moves towards greater autonomy from France.

The process of decolonisation has faced troubles this year, with the collapse of four consecutive governments.

Crime is also on the rise as the cost of living in the territory skyrockets.

Air fare rises triggered major clashes on the island of Mare earlier this month that left four people dead and more than 20 others wounded.