25 Aug 2010

New Caledonia referendum remains sensitive issue, says French HC

2:36 pm on 25 August 2010

The French high commissioner in Noumea, Yves Dassonville, says France is keen to avoid a referendum outcome in New Caledonia that would quash any chance for the territory ever becoming independent.

A vote on the territory's future status is to be held under the 1998 Noumea Accord, with a referendum possible as early as 2014.

It is widely believed that a majority is against severing ties with Paris.

Mr Dassonville says going ahead with a vote that eliminates any possible move to full self-determination is full of risks.

"We know that a no to independence would create frustrations and probably civil disorder, so we want to avoid that."

The French high commissioner in New Caledonia, Yves Dassonville