New Caledonia Decolonization Discussed At MSG Meeting In Fiji

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Discussions over independence to be reported to United Nations

By Repeka Nasiko

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Aug. 23, 2012) – The issue of the decolonization process of the Kanak community in New Caledonia was a major topic of discussion at the two-day Special Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) meeting in Nadi.

The meeting chaired by Foreign Affairs permanent secretary Saipora Mataikabara was the second in a series of meetings between the MSG members, to discuss the FLNKS (Front de Liberation Nationale Kanak et Socialiste) independence from the French government.

"I am optimistic that at the end of our meeting, our deliberations on decolonization issues will gain more prominence on the international arena as we all endeavor to assist our FLNKS colleagues and their people in their struggle for self emancipation," Ms Mataikabara said at the start of the talks.

"Our efforts in monitoring the progress on the Noumea Accord extend to a wider audience in sharing our findings with the United Nations."

Ms. Mataikabara also referred to a recent trip to New Caledonia of MSG heads including Fiji's Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, saying the meetings were conducted in a very transparent, open and frank manner.

The visit was undertaken to monitor and assess the implementation of the 1998 Noumea Accord in accordance with the decolonization processes approved by the people of New Caledonia through a referendum.

The Noumea Accord of 1998 promises to grant political power to New Caledonia and its original population, the Kanaks, until the territory decides whether to remain within the French Republic or become an independent State in a referendum to be held between 2014 and 2019. France will continue to control military and foreign affairs, immigration, police and currency until that time, and after, if the population chooses to remain French.

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