8 Sep 2003

A French Parliamentary Commission gives a positive report on the Noumea Accord

7:14 am on 8 September 2003

The law commission of the French Parliament has wrapped up a six day visit to New Caledonia, saying the 1998 Noumea Accord on greater autonomy is on the right path.

The news agency, AFP, says the head of the delegation, Pascal Clement, has given a positive assessment of the political climate, which has raised hopes.

Observers say there had been some dispondancy over whether commitments made by the French President, Jacques Chirac, in July would be followed through.

He pledged to overcome an impasse by 2007 over who will be allowed to vote in the territory's future key polls.

The Noumea Accord includes residency requirements as demanded by the Kanaks, but the constitutional changes to that end are being challenged in the French courts.

The previous week, the 5-member law commission visited French Polynesia to canvass views on the proposed changed autonomy status