27 Nov 2012

New Caledonia leaders agree on agenda for Noumea Accord meeting

6:44 am on 27 November 2012

The French overseas territories minister, Victorin Lurel, says an agenda has been agreed on with New Caledonia's leaders for next month's meeting of the signatories of the 1998 Noumea Accord in Paris.

Mr Lurel made the point at the end of a four-day visit to New Caledonia to consult pro- and anti-independence politicians who will atend the discussions to be chaired by the French prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault.

He says one issue to be added to the agenda is the seaarch for symbols of a common identity - an issue that last year prompted four governments to collapse.

The minister has also urged New Caledonian leaders to work towards a more egalitarian society, warning against young Kanak being marginalised.

Mr Lurel says economic reforms need to be undertaken because otherwise answers will be given by people taking to the streets.

The Noumea Accord, which provides for a phased and irreversible transfer of power from Paris, is to enter its final phase, with a possible independence referendum between 2014 and 2018.