22 Oct 2007

New Caledonia's FLNKS movement welcomes French PM's stance on talks

10:47 am on 22 October 2007

New Caledonia's pro-independence FLNKS movement says it has been

reassured by the French prime minister Francois Fillon's announcement

that he will personally convene a meeting of the signatories to the 1998

Noumea Accord.

There have been delays in implemeting the decolonisation roadmap and Mr

Fillon has now said he will meet the pro- and anti-independence factions

in Paris before the end of the year as part of the French state's

commitment to the document.

The FLNKS has welcomed Mr Fillon's stance as a strong signal and at the

same time described it as a reprimand of the overseas territories

minister, Christian Estrosi, whose comments on New Caledonia earlier this

month upset some politicians.

The FLNKS accused the minister, who called for a bigger role for France,

of siding with the anti-independence leaders who object to aspects of the

scheduled transfer of powers from Paris to Noumea.

It accused the minister of causing a new political crisis but he told the media that his comments were misunderstood.