PARIS AIMS FOR MIDDLE GROUND IN NEW CALEDONIA

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NOUMEA, New Caledonia (Radio Australia/PINA, Dec. 22) - France's minister for overseas territories, Brigitte Girardin, has completed her visit to New Caledonia, expressing confidence over its institutional future.

Girardin said the role of the French state in New Caledonia is that of a partner.

She was responding to local calls for France to be more involved in the implementation of the Noumea accord.

This is the agreement which ended violence between pro-independence, indigenous Kanak-led groups and anti-independence groups backed by settlers.

Paris is a signatory along with pro-independence Kanak Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS) and anti-independence Rally for Caledonia in the Republic (RPCR).

However, Ms Girardin said a middle ground is needed as France cannot be passive over the territory's future.

Some of the calls for France to be more actively involved have been made by the FLNKS.

Kanak politicians have accused the RPCR-led government of not following the power sharing envisaged in the Noumea accord.

December 23, 2003

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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