27 Jun 2012

Bainimarama's Noumea visit called off amid French visa woes

4:46 am on 27 June 2012

New Caledonia's pro-independence FLNKS movement says this weekend's planned visit to Noumea by Fiji's interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama has been cancelled because of visa problems.

The Commodore was to head a ministerial delegation of the Melanesian Spearhead Group looking at the implementation of the Noumea Accord on greater autonomy.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"The FLNKS spokesperson, Victor Tutugoro, says the visa for the week-long stay could not be issued by the French authorities in time for the Commodore's visit which Fiji's information ministry had confirmed at the end of last week. MSG diplomats met in Suva last week to finalise the mission but the Fiji Sun now quotes Fiji's interim Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola as saying it would not be prudent to go ahead. In April, the anti-independence Caledonia Together leader, Philippe Gomes, asked France to stop the visit, saying there was no call to host the region's only dictator. Mr Tutugoro will fly to the MSG secretariat in Vanuatu on Wednesday to discuss the matter ."