PRO- AND ANTI-INDEPENDENCE GROUPS DISCUSS NEW

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CALEDONIA’S FUTURE

NOUMÉA, New Caledonia (January 15, 1998 - PACNEWS)---Discussions on the future of French-ruled New Caledonia resumed in Nouméa Wednesday between pro- and anti-independence groups.

The negotiations between the anti-independence RCPR and the Coordination Committee of the Independentists (CCI) began earlier in January, and are aimed at finding a consensus on the political future of New Caledonia.

The talks between the two opposing groups are also aimed at avoiding a planned referendum this year on New Caledonia’s political future, which the parties agreed to under the 1988 Matignon Accords.

Meanwhile, the outcome of the present negotiations will be put to the people in a referendum later this year.

The members of the two delegations say they want to speed up their work for next week’s meeting.

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