15 Sep 2016

Vanuatu expects visa-free access to New Caledonia

5:54 pm on 15 September 2016

Vanuatu has challenged New Caledonia to keep its promise to grant Vanuatu citizens visa-free access to the territory.

New Caledonia's capital Noumea.

New Caledonia's capital Noumea. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

The Daily Post quotes Vanuatu's prime minister Charlot Salwai as saying when New Caledonia's president Philippe Germain last visited Post Vila he promised such an arrangement.

He says this has not happened yet.

Mr Salwai says for supporting New Caledonia's bid for full Pacific Islands Forum membership, Vanuatu now expects New Caledonia to relax its protectionism and accept Vanuatu exports.

Noumea port, New Caledonia.

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

He says he was lobbied by the New Caledonian government and the French High Commissioner to support New Caledonia's Forum application.

Mr Salwai says Vanuatu's support won't compromise the country's stand on self-determination for New Caledonia and French Polynesia.

Vanuatu was a French and Bristish colony until 1980 and New Caledonia has been on the United Nations decolonisation list since 1986.

French Polynesia was returned to the list in 2013.

Downtown Noumea (capital of New Caledonia)

Downtown Noumea. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades