France Open To Outcomes Of New Caledonia Referendum

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Minister: Paris will be impartial, apply accord to the letter

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 1, 2013) – The French government says it is open to any institutional future for New Caledonia if the rival camps can find common ground.

The decolonisation process under the Noumea Accord will enter its final phase after next year’s territorial election when a referendum on independence can be called.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"The overseas territories minister Victorin Lurel has wrapped up three days of consultations in New Caledonia before next week’s meeting in Paris of the territory’s signatories of the Noumea Accord. He has reiterated the position of the prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, that Paris will be impartial and apply the accord to the letter. Fears that the troubles of the 1980s could be repeated have prompted calls to defer a self-determination vote as polls suggest the pro-independence camp would clearly lose. Experts have pointed to the Cook Islands and Monaco as examples of self-governing or independent countries tied to bigger powers."

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