Kanak group boycotts Paris talks on Noumea Accord
New Caledonia's pro-independence Caledonian Union boycotts Paris talks on Noumea Accord.
New Caledonian leaders are due to meet the French prime minister later this week to review progress made with the 1998 Noumea Accord which is the territory's decolonisation roadmap.
The annual review however is now being boycotted by the biggest pro-independence party, the Caledonian Union.
This comes as the territory's newly elected Congress is tasked with organising a referendum that could lead to independence.
Walter Zweifel has been following the story and Don Wiseman asked him what prompted the boycott.
WALTER ZWEIFEL: The Caledonian Union decided to pull out of these talks because it disagreed with the make-up of the electoral roll. The roll is restricted to people who had lived in New Caledonia at least ten years in 1998 which was the time the Noumea Accord was signed. Now the pro-independence camp wants to make sure that only indigenous Kanaks and long-term residents can vote - on the other side there is a feeling there should be a more relaxed approach. The devil is in the detail and the Caledonian Union says France has now had 15 years, close to 16 years, to sort out the electoral roll. It is not happy how it's gone and decided to stay away from these talks in Paris. The Caledonian Union has decided to go to New York and talk to the UN which is following this decolonsation process.
DON WISEMAN: In terms of this boycott - what sort of impact will it have on the overall discussions?
WZ: It will be a very one-sided gathering. When they meet in Paris there is simply going to be hardly any pro-independence representatives at the table. So any decision they reach or any decision that they might want to sign will essentially be without much value because of you don't have the agreement of all parties concerned it will not carry on. We have to remember that decisions do have to be made - the Noumea Accord is a document that has a finite lifetime and things get delayed because of a boycott it will have an impact.
DW: What is that time line, what is the time line for the Noumea Accord?
WZ: A vote has to be organised by the New Caledonian Congress by 2018 and if there is no decision by then, it will be up to France to organise a referendum. Now the Caledonian Union has already said that if the rolls are not in good shape and not acceptable, there is no point in going ahead with any referendum. So the boycott now seems to have implications further down the track as well.
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