19 Dec 2002

French Minister says dialogue needed to make collegial government work

5:46 pm on 19 December 2002

The French minister in charge of overseas territories, Brigitte Girardin, has called for a dialogue between the key groups to make the collegial government of New Caledonia work.

The administration in Noumea is made up of ten members in proportion to the strength of their parties.

But the pro-independence group has been boycotting recent cabinet meetings because the RPCR majority has failed to adhere to the spirit of the Nouema accord that provides for a collegial government.

Mrs Girardin, who has now ended a four-day official visit to the territory, says she can see that the collegial system faces difficulties.

"That's why one has to discuss, one has to know exactly how to put it in place. There IS a willingness on part of the RPCR Party to discuss the issues in order to reach decisions."

Mrs Girardin is continuing her regional tour with a two-day visit to Wallis and Futuna.