17 Nov 2014

French President to inaugurate nickel plant

12:07 pm on 17 November 2014

The French President, Francois Hollande, is due in New Caledonia's north on Monday to inaugurate a nickel plant before he returns to Noumea to meet political leaders.

During his brief visit, Mr Hollande is also due at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community to discuss climate change.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"Francois Hollande is out of Noumea for much of the day as a major march by several pro-French parties is planned in the city centre to show that a majority of the people want to remain French. A rival rally is due shortly afterwards by the pro-independence side that is unhappy about aspects of the Noumea Accord on greater autonomy, which is to end with a referendum on independence by 2018. The French government has been adamant to stress that it is impartial. Mr Hollande, who is accompanied by the French foreign minister, is also due to meet the heads of government of several small Pacific Island states."