At a press conference on Thursday 7 January, the FLNKS*, the main coalition of pro-independence parties in New Caledonia explained its priorities for the new year.
The FLNKS continues its action in support of the takeover of the metallurgical factory in the Southern Province by New Caledonian interests. Its owner, the brazilian Vale, has signed a memorandum of understanding with an oil trader, the Swiss Trafigura. Negotiations are currently continuing in great secrecy between the various political leaders, Vale and the French state.
The clashes in december, on the plant site and on other mining sites throughout the country were violent and caused several million dollars of damage. The FLNKS demands that those arrested for committing crimes be subject to special judicial treatment. A kind of amnesty as was the case in the late 1980s when New Caledonia fell into civil war.
The other main goal for the pro-independence backers is the referendum. The FLNKS says it is considering the best moment to organise the third and last referendum – of the Nouméa agreement – to decide whether or not New Caledonia remains in France. The voting must be held in 2021 or next year.
In the meantime, the situation calmed down in New Caledonia but the militants opposed to the sale of the factory to Trafigura remain mobilised. You only have to see the dozens of cars burnt on the side of the roads to be convinced of this.
* FLNKS : Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front
Photo > Extraordinary steering committee of the Caledonian Union, on January 9. Credit > FLNKS Officiel Facebook account.