29 Apr 2016

New Caledonia Congress addressed by French PM

5:19 pm on 29 April 2016
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls. Photo: AFP

The French prime minister, Manuel Valls, has told New Caledonia's Congress that they will all be judged by history for what they are doing.

Mr Valls' visit to the French Pacific territory comes amid political tension about New Caledonia's future and economic uncertainty following the sharp drop in the price of nickel.

With the territory bound to have an independence referendum by 2018, Mr Valls called on the territory's leaders not to waste time in useless skirmishes.

He says a meeting of the signatories of the 1998 Noumea Accord will be held in Paris before the end of the year to continue talks on the decolonisation process.

Mr Valls has promised continued French assistance.

He also announced that a police delegation will visit in mid-May to help address concerns over increasing criminality.

He says France is prepared to lend $US240 million to help the SLN nickel company, which is running at a loss of about $US700,000 a day.

Mr Valls says a joint effort is needed to overcome the nickel industry crisis, which he says is unprecedented.

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