8 Nov 2012

Noumea Accord review talks in Paris in December

1:23 pm on 8 November 2012

The French overseas territories minister, Victorin Lurel, has set December the 6th as the date for the next meeting of the signatories of New Caledonia's 1998 Noumea Accord.

Mr Lurel says preparations are underway for the talks which will be held under the leadership of the prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault.

The 1998 Noumea Accord on greater autonomy, which provides for a phased and irreversible transfer of power from Paris, is to enter its final phase, with a possible independence referendum between 2014 and 2018.

Mr Lurel says key issues to be raised include support to the transfer of power and the high cost of living.

He has earlier said there is also a need to find a common flag and name but that won't happen before the 2014 elections.

There has been a heated and unresolved dispute over which flag the territory should choose - an issue that last year prompted four governments to collapse.