21 Dec 2007

French task force to help with Noumea Accord implementation

4:03 pm on 21 December 2007

France says it will establish a task force that will help pass on power from Paris to New Caledonia.

The announcement was made after a leaders' meeting in Paris reviewing the 1998 Noumea Accord on greater autonomy in New Caledonia.

The meeting had been called by the French prime minister in response to dissatisfaction among the signatories in New Caledonia.

Our Noumea correspondent, Claudine Wery, says powers won't be passed on until 2009, but France will help New Caledonia in the process.

"To help the local authorities to prepare and to handle this transfer of powers. Francois Fillon announced the creation of a task force with many experts from the French government to help to prepare this transfer."

Claudine Wery says dialogue between all signatories of the Noumea accord has been re-established and the outcome of the Paris talks has been positive.