4 Feb 2016

Paris talks to chart end of Noumea Accord

7:27 am on 4 February 2016

France's Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, will today chair a meeting of the so-called signatories of the 1998 Noumea Accord as New Caledonia's independence referendum nears.

The three-day talks will try to help finalise the roll of those eligible to vote in the 2018 plebiscite when the Accord expires.

There have been calls to consider a fresh accord but a signatory for the pro-independence side, Roch Wamytan, has told television that the vote should go ahead.

"At some point, one has to give the Kanak people, that is the colonised people, as well as others who have arrived here as the result of history, the chance to have a say to know what sort of future the people, and above all the Kanak people, want."

The meeting will also discuss the problems the territory is facing after the recent sharp drop in the price of nickel.

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Three flags flown in New Caledonia, from left to right: the separatist FLNKS flag, a provincial flag and the French Tricolore Photo: AFP