FRANCE’S QUEYRANNE IN NEW CALEDONIA THIS WEEK

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FRANCE’S QUEYRANNE IN NEW CALEDONIA THIS WEEK

NOUMEA, New Caledonia (April 30, 2000 – Oceania Flash/SPC)---French Assistant Overseas Minister Jean-Jack Queyranne is due to arrive in New Caledonia on Tuesday for a two-day official visit, the daily newspaper Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes reports.

Queyranne's main mission is to chair a follow-up committee meeting of the signatories to the Noumea Accord, two years after it was signed in May 1998.

Before the meeting, Queyranne will individually meet with the two signatories, Roch Wamytan (pro-independence FLNKS party president) and Jacques Lafleur (anti-independence RPCR party president).

The Accord provides for gradual autonomy of the French Territory through a progressive transfer of powers from the French state to the local government, as well as possible independence within "15 to 20 years."

On Wednesday and Thursday, Queyranne will be in Wallis and Futuna for talks.

Meanwhile, pro-independence FLNKS (Kanak Socialist National Liberation Front) members in the New Caledonian government (which was formed last June as part of the implementation of the Noumea Accord) on Friday expressed concern at what they termed the "drifting" of the pact.

They said that the Accord was intended to promote a "spirit of collegiality" between all parties of New Caledonia, but indicated they are not happy with the behavior of Lafleur's RPCR.

RPCR, through an alliance with another pro-independence party outside FLNKS, FCCI, last June secured seven of the eleven seats in the territory's first local government.

"We played the game until now, but this consensual spirit of the Accord has vanished," FLNKS president Roch Wamytan told a press conference.

"(RPCR) didn't respect the commitments of the organic law and is responsible for the institutions' current malfunctions," Wamytan said.

He called on the French government to be more involved in a "referee" role.

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