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France happy with UN reaction over New Caledonia

France says the UN decolonisation committee has welcomed an invitation to New Caledonia following the territory's third rejection of independence from France in December.
The invitation was made by the French overseas minister Sebastien Lecornu who briefed the committee in New York last week.

Mr Lecornu said while the series of referendums under the Noumea Accord has been completed, it only marks a step in the process started in 1988.

He said it is now necessary to get out of the logic of pro- and anti-independence politics and instead open a new page of discussions to build a common institutional framework.

France wants to hold another referendum in June next year about a new, yet to be determined statute for a New Caledonia within France.

In December, more than 96 percent of voters rejected independence in the third and final referendum, which was marked by a majority of voters abstaining.

The vote was boycotted by the pro-independence parties after Paris rejected concerns about the impact of the pandemic and refused to postpone the plebiscite.

Pro-independence politicians visited the UN days before the vote, with their parties rejecting the referendum outcome as illegitimate.

They said they will only discuss a path forward once France has had its presidential elections, and then they will only talk about terms to attain independence.

New Caledonia has been on the UN decolonisation list since 1986

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