New Caledonia’s pro-independence Palika party has joined the Caledonian Union in rejecting talks in Paris announced by the French Interior Ministry.
The ministry called a meeting of the signatories to the 1998 Noumea Accord for September as France plans to draw up a new statute for New Caledonia after last December’s boycotted referendum saw a majority of voters opt to remain French.
Palika spokesperson Charles Washetine said the French state had abandoned any notion of “impartiality” and wants to impose such talks amid pressure from the political right.
The head of the Caledonian Union, Daniel Goa, said his side would not go to Paris, describing the proposed talks as a sham and adding that if any talks were to go ahead, they would have to be held in New Caledonia and about ways to give the territory its sovereignty.
He also said any talks would be bilateral ones between his side and Paris, meaning that they would not involve New Caledonia’s anti-independence parties.
Noumea trip cancelled
The Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin had earlier announced a visit to Noumea before the end of next week, but the trip has reportedly been cancelled.
His ministry said he would visit New Caledonia after the Paris talks planned for September.
The anti-independence camp welcomed Darmanin’s proposed talks to conclude the process set out in the Noumea Accord.
New Caledonia has been on the UN Decolonisation List since 1986 and despite the referendum outcome, the Kanaks’ right to self-determination remains an inalienable international right.
This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.
This content originally appeared on Asia Pacific Report and was authored by APR editor.