New Caledonia's main anti-independence party has welcomed the announcement by the French prime minister to personally engage himself in the decolonisation process.
In his policy address to French lawmakers, Edouard Philippe singled out New Caledonia among French overseas territories, saying the provisions of the Noumea Accord will be upheld.
He gave New Caledonia's politicians until May to organise an independence referendum, failing which Paris would set it up by November next year.
The Caledonia Together Party's two French Assembly members Philippe Gomes and Philippe Dunoyer say they appreciate the significance the territory's fate is being attributed on a national level.
The two, however, abstained in the confidence vote called to endorse the new French government, saying confidence cannot be decreed but has to be earned.