16 Jul 2005

Forum ministers check up on New Caledonia's Noumea Accord

8:27 am on 16 July 2005

Three ministers from Pacific Islands Forum member countries are leaving today for a one-week mission to New Caledonia, as part of an ongoing process to monitor the implementation of the autonomy Noumea Accord.

The Accord paves the way for gradual transfers of powers from metropolitan France to local authorities and sets a timeframe for a possible independence referendum between 2013 and 2018.

Since 1991, the Forum has been sending, on a regular basis, missions to New Caledonia to monitor the situation.

The last such visit was in 2002.

This year's ministerial delegation consists of Fiji's foreign minister Kaliopate Tavola, the Solomon Islands aviation, minister Simeon Bouro, and Nauru's education minister Baron Waga.

Also part of the trip are officials from the Suva-based Forum Secretariat, including its Political Issues Adviser Isabel Calvert.

During the next seven days, the Forum mission members are scheduled to meet a wide range of officials and leaders on the local political, economic, social and non-state scene.