9 Dec 2008

French PM says Noumea Accord talks on track

2:30 pm on 9 December 2008

The French prime minister, Francois Fillon, says there has been a consensus in the Paris follow-up talks on New Caledonia's 1998 Noumea accord on greater autonomy.

The meeting brought together the pro- and anti-independence sides to discuss the phased and irreversible transfers of power from Paris to New Caledonia.

Mr Fillon says it is encouraging that a common understanding has emerged in all the areas where a transfer of competence is to occur.

The representatives at the talks have also expressed their satisfaction with the outcome of the discussions that will help pave the way for a vote on self-determination before 2018.

Mr Fillon has also announced that he will visit New Caledonia next year, with the news agency AFP saying this will happen next month.