25 Sep 2015

France orders New Caledonia Congress meeting

4:08 pm on 25 September 2015

France has demanded that a special meeting of New Caledonia's Congress be convened to discuss the controversy over nickel exports.

Noumea port, New Caledonia.

Noumea port, New Caledonia. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

The overseas ministry says Paris is invoking its rights under the organic law after the Congress leadership rejected a bid by the territorial government to debate the issue.

A court in Noumea has upheld a Congress complaint that the government's call for a meeting was formally flawed.

However, the French government says this is not the time for a useless extension of a legal debate.

It says it is now time for a quick resumption of a substantial dialogue with all the political forces in New Caledonia.

The controversy over proposed nickel exports to China prompted a three-week industrial conflict in August.