21 Dec 2007

Positive response to Noumea Accord review

2:18 pm on 21 December 2007

Leaders attending the Paris talks to review the 1998 Noumea Accord on greater autonomy in New Caledonia say they are pleased with the outcome.

The meeting had been called by the French prime minister, Francois Fillon, following unease and dissent among the signatories in New Caledonia.

A statement issued by the prime minister says dialogue has been re-etablished which will allow to proceed with joint efforts to develop the economy and transfer powers from Paris to Noumea.

It says, however, that the next batch of powers won't be passed on until 2009.

The leader of the anti-independence Rassemblement/UMP, Pierre Frogier, says the talks mark a new phase in the implementation of the accord.

The pro-independence FLNKS delegate, Paul Neaoutyine, says Mr Fillon's invitation has helped for the process to be resumed.