12 Jul 2017

New Caledonia's Kanaks seek top French contacts

12:26 pm on 12 July 2017

A senior Kanak leader says one of the reasons he has travelled to France is to give New Caledonia's pro-independence camp access to the new administration under President Emmanuel Macron.

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Emmanuel Macron Photo: AFP

This comes as the new French government of Edouard Philippe is tasked to guarantee an independence referendum next year as the conclusion of the 1998 Noumea Accord.

After meeting an anti-independence delegation last week, the new overseas minister Annick Girardin has now held talks with the rival side, led by the president of the northern province Paul Neaoutyine, who is one of the Accord signatories.

He said he also wanted direct talks with Paris because the pro-independence parties failed to win a seat in last month's French National Assembly election.

Mr Neaoutyine said this was the result of the loyalists' push to win both seats.

During his Paris visit, he is also due to meet Mr Philippe and the Senate president.

In two weeks, Ms Girardin is due to make her first official overseas trip by visiting New Caledonia.

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