4 Oct 2014

'Fruitful' Noumea Accord talks come to an end

2:45 pm on 4 October 2014

The French prime minister, Manuel Valls, says there has been a fruitful dialogue with the New Caledonian leaders at a Paris meeting to review the 1998 Noumea Accord.

The French prime minister, Manuel Valls,

Manuel Valls described the talks as fruitful. Photo: AFP

The meeting was the first since the May election of a new New Caledonian Congress whose mandate includes organising a referendum on possible independence from France by 2018.

The talks were marked by the sudden departure of a leading anti-independence delegate and member of the French Senate, Pierre Frogier, who accused the ruling Socailists of being deafeningly silent about their plans for New Caledonia.

Pierre Frogier

Pierre Frogier left the talks suddenly. Photo: AFP

Mr Valls says there is no secret plan and that France is committed to being an impartial partner in the decolonisation process as outlined in the Noumea Accord.

The talks were boycotted by the main pro-independence party, the Caledonian Union, amid a range of concerns, including its objections to the way the French authorities managed the electoral roll of those who will be eligible to vote in a referendum.

Mr Valls says a new organic law on the matter will be prepared before the end of the year.