15 Oct 2007

French high commissioner in New Caledonia tenders resignation

1:35 pm on 15 October 2007

The French high commissioner in New Caledonia, Michel Mathieu, has tendered his resignation to the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy.

Reports say the resignation was submitted several days ago but is yet to be accepted.

No reason was given for his decision which was made public after the new French minister in charge of overseas territories, Christian Estrosi, completed an official two day visit to the territory.

Mr Estrosi used his visit to emphasise the French commitment to New Caledonia and vowed to toughen the state's stance in the face of frequent union-led blockades of businesses.

He also said a follow-up meeting of the signatories of the 1998 Noumea Accord on greater autonomy will be convened before the end of year amid attempts by the anti-independence UMP/Rassemblement to question the constitutionally binding provisions of the accord.