22 May 2017

Girardin restates commitment to New Caledonia

8:12 am on 22 May 2017
Newly appointed French Overseas Minister Annick Girardin leaves the Elysee presidential palace in Paris on May 18, 2017, after the first weekly cabinet meeting of the new government.

Newly appointed French Overseas Minister Annick Girardin leaves the Elysee presidential palace in Paris on May 18, 2017, after the first weekly cabinet meeting of the new government. Photo: CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT / AFP

France's new overseas minister Annick Girardin has re-iterated the French stance that a referendum on New Caledonia's independence will go ahead as provided by the Noumea Accord.

Ms Girardin, who was appointed last week, said she was waiting for New Caledonia's Congress to announce a referendum date.

She said if the Congress failed to make a decision it would be the French state which would give a precise date for the plebiscite, which would have to be held before November next year as set out in the Noumea Accord.

Ms Girardin also said France would stand by New Caledonia irrespective of its choice.

She said work needed to be done to establish the electoral roll and the wording of the referendum question.

Voting is restricted to long-term residents, triggering disputes over the reliability of the roll.

Under the 1998 Noumea Accord, a vote has to be held between 2014 and 2018.

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