16 Oct 2007

New Caledonia's FLNKS claims Estrosi comments trigger new crisis

10:03 am on 16 October 2007

New Caledonia's pro-independence FLNKS movement has accused the new French minister in charge of overseas territories, Christian Estrosi, of having caused a new political crisis.

This comes after his visit to Noumea last week after which the French high commissioner, Michel Mathieu, tendered his resignation after disagreeing with Mr Estrosi on how to deal with a union rally and social unrest in general.

The FLNKS also says the minister's call for a bigger French role in the territory appears to contradict the spirit of the 1998 Noumea Accord on greater autonomy.

Its political bureau says the Accord is a process of decolonisation while Mr Estrosi advocates that New Caledonia's future be with France.

Speaking from the French territory of Wallis and Futuna, Mr Estrosi says there is no crisis between Paris and the FLNKS, saying he will work towards implementing the Noumea Accord.

The anti-independence UMP/Rassemblement has indicated its opposition to some of the constitutionally binding provisions of the accord.