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(PAPEETE, Tahiti (April 27, 1998 - Radio Australia)---French Polynesia’s pro-independence party has welcomed the signing of an agreement on the French territory of New Caledonia’s political future.

The Noumea Accord provides greater autonomy for New Caledonia and a vote on independence from France within 15 to 20 years.

A special congress of the pro-independence FLNKS coalition ratified the agreement last weekend in Noumea.

In Papeete, French Polynesia’s independence party spokesman Nelson Ortas said the agreement is a major step forward and would make a good model to be used in future discussions with France on independence for French Polynesia.

"We are very pleased and very proud," he said, adding that the formal Kanaki plan is one "that we could probably follow or use as guidance for further negotiations and future negotiations for the Tavini party."

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