19 Feb 2003

Greens criticise French minister over New Caledonian reef registration failure

12:26 pm on 19 February 2003

The Greens in France have hit out at the ecology minister, Roselyne Bachelot, over missing a deadline to try to register New Caledonia's reef as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Greens accuse her of odious clanishness in dealing with the issue and have asked her to make a fresh bid after allegedly giving in to pressure from New Caledonian MP, Jacques Lafleur.

The application was first made by the previous environment minister but Mrs Bachelot failed to meet a deadline two weeks ago to give UNESCO more information on the bid.

The plan was supported by Kanak chiefs, pro-independence leaders and environmentalists seeking to protect the reef from possible damage by planned nickel mining projects.

But it was opposed by the southern province which is run by Mr Lafleur's anti-independence RPCR Party.