New Caledonia independence party suggests 'international mediation' on territory's future

President of the Congress of New Caledonia Roch Wamytan in Paris after a meeting with the French Prime Minister to discuss the territory's future.
President of the Congress of New Caledonia Roch Wamytan in Paris after a meeting with the French Prime Minister to discuss the territory's future. Copyright Alain Jocard/AFP
By Euronews
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The question of the French Pacific region's constitutional future remains far from settled despite three referendums.


New Caledonia's main pro-independence party has reaffirmed its rejection of the document laying the foundations for negotiating an agreement on the archipelago's future – albeit while not ruling out recourse to "international mediation".

Delegates to this week's congress of the Union Calédonienne (UC) party made their decision on Wednesday, just a few days before the fifth visit in a year by Gérald Darmanin, the French Minister of the Interior and Overseas Territories.

The document was submitted to the pro-independence and non-independence delegations at a meeting in Paris in early September.

"We are ready to discuss with the State when it is ready to discuss the document we have given it", said Gilbert Tyuienon, first vice-president of the UC, at a press conference in Nouméa.

All observers were waiting for the UC to agree its position on the continuing discussions on the territory's institutional future following New Caledonia's third referendum on self-determination, the result of which the UC is still contesting.

The party gave its own proposals to Mr Darmanin during his visit in June. 

AP Photo/Clotilde Richalet
AP Photo/Clotilde RichaletClotilde Richalet/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved

Roch Wamytan, a leading figure in the party and President of the Congress of New Caledonia, the archipelago's deliberative body, said that if the French government refuses to review its position, the UC intends to resort to "international mediation".

The purpose of the mediation would be to implement transitional justice in order to "put the colonisation of our country and reparations on trial", he said, and "to enable reconciliation between the peoples that France has brought here, on our soil".

In recent weeks, discussions have begun between the political groups in the Congress of New Caledonia at the initiative of Calédonie Ensemble, a non-independence party of the moderate right.

Tyuienon described these discussions as an essential "Caledonian initiative". However, the vice-president made it clear that these exchanges were "with people who want to build the country" and "not the people who want to take us back to war".

That was a reference to the most radical opponents of independence. Their leader, former Secretary of State for Citizenship Sonia Backès, resigned following her defeat in the last senatorial elections.

Additional sources • AFP

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