From Paris, the minister of Overseas territories made proposals to the independentists and the customary people.
In a televised intervention on Monday 11th January, the Overseas Minister, Sébastien Lecornu, called for a “top-down exit” from the conflict that has been agitating Caledonia for several weeks over the sale of the Vale hydrometallurgical plant. The Brazilian group Vale has already signed a memorandum of understanding with the Swiss oil trader Trafigura. Opponents, mostly made up of independentists and customary people, want the plant to be managed by an industrialist and not by a trader.
1,200 unemployed people
The site has been blocked for two months and production has been stopped since the very violent clashes of 10 December. Vale has announced that 1,200 people have been put on short-time working. Emmanuel Macron’s minister says he is ready to make “a new and strong proposal”. He proposes “a stronger involvement of the State in the factory in the South”. He sets two conditions. The first is that of not calling into question the Trafigura offer since, according to him, it is the only takeover offer.
In the event of independence, the state withdraws its participation in the factory
The second condition is political. He wants the pro-independence leaders to return to the negotiating table to discuss the future of the institutions. A referendum on the independence of Caledonia could be held this year or next year. Sébastien Lecornu adds that ” If New Caledonia becomes independent, France will disengage from the factory in the South “. The minister ended his speech with a sentence full of meaning: “We want to reach out one last time” (…) “In the event that it is refused, the State will take its responsibilities and those who seek to thwart the offer will have to take theirs. »
Since this announcement, discussions have continued in total secrecy. As usual…