29 Jul 2017

French minister extends New Caledonia visit to meet with youth

2:11 pm on 29 July 2017
Overseas Minister Annick Girardin

Overseas Minister Annick Girardin Photo: AFP

The French overseas minister has extended her visit to New Caledonia by a day, reportedly to meet young people for talks about the territory's future.

Annick Girardin was due to leave last night at the end of her official visit - her first overseas ministerial trip since becoming a member of the government of Edouard Philippe.

Her tour involved visits to all three provinces and meetings with political parties represented in Congress as New Caledonia gears up to next year's independence referendum.

The visit has been seen as a familiarisation tour linked to preparations for the last meeting of the signatories of the Noumea Accord later this year as the plebiscite process needs to be finalised.

As no date has been set, there is speculation it could be held during Mr Philippe's planned New Caledonia visit later this year.