Independents and loyalists agree to talks in Paris, but…

Emmanuel Macron’s Minister for Overseas Territories completed his week-long mission to New Caledonia on Friday 16 September. His mission was to renew the threads of dialogue. He believes he has succeeded in his mission. “I saw everyone, and everyone wants to see me again. We spoke the truth to each other”, he declared before taking the plane back to Paris. The loyalists, who want to remain in France and the independents, who want to leave, should meet in October in Paris to discuss. The minister called this meeting “a committee of partners for the future”. This is a first step.

It will be very long

The second stage will be negotiations. And that will undoubtedly be very long. The loyalists believe they have definitively won the right to remain in France after the victory in the three referendums of 2018, 2020 and 2021. The independentists do not recognise the victory in the last referendum since they boycotted it. They want to discuss the accession to independence with the State.
“We need a long time, we must reserve the whole year 2023 to get to the bottom of things”, explained Roch Wamytan, pro-independence president of the Congress (UC). The State is going to make an assessment of the Nouméa agreement and an audit of decolonisation. Its conclusions are expected in February.
The soap opera is far from over…

Photo: Minister Jean-François Carenco (left) receives a gift from Louis Mapou, President of the Government of Caledonia (right).