All sides of the debate on the independence of New Caledonia meet in Paris

Talks involving New Caledonia’s pro and anti-independence sides as well as the French state will continue in Paris next month.

This was announced by the French Deputy Minister for Overseas Territories, Jean-François Carenco, in Noumea at the end of his official visit to the territory.

The talks are framed as a meeting of a committee of partners, which is to replace the committee of signatories to the 1998 Noumea Accord.

The separatists will first meet the representatives of the French state.

No specific date has yet been given.

There were two talks with the FLNKS this week where France offered its idea of ​​a formal meeting in Paris, which the pro-independence camp initially declined.

Photo: Wali Wahetra

However, the French state has said the October talks will be a stepping stone to a more two-way dialogue next year, which the FLNKS has agreed to, according to its spokesman Charles Wea.

Wea said the Paris talks will be very difficult.

“At the last meetings, they said they were fine with having bilaterals in Paris, but they wanted the discussion to be about the full sovereignty of New Caledonia.

“But I can’t hide from you that these discussions are going to be very tough in Paris.

“The FLNKS does not want pressure from the government and has always felt that the bilateral talks should take place in New Caledonia rather than elsewhere.”

The FLNKS wanted the dialogue not to be rushed because it does not have confidence in France’s negotiating framework.

“The Kanak people are extremely vigilant, because we have been blocked by the French state, especially in things like dialogue, discussions in the past.

“That’s why I think the October dialogue will be very difficult,” Wea said.

The planned rally follows last December’s referendum on independence from France in which 96% voted to stay with France but most independence supporters boycotted it.

The pro-independence party refuses to recognize this result as the legitimate outcome of the decolonization process.

The Nouméa accord stipulates that in the event of three refusals of independence, the parties concerned must meet to discuss the situation.