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FLNKS message to French PM about Kanak ‘humiliation’ over referendum

By Jan Kohout, RNZ Pacific journalist

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By Jan KohoutRNZ Pacific journalist

New Caledonia’s Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS) say they will tell the French Prime Minister of the Kanak people’s “sense of humiliation” over the last independence referendum.

The pro-independence alliance is set to talk to the French state from April 7-15.

The secretary-general of the Caledonian Union, Pascal Sawa, told La Premiere television they need to discuss what happened in the referendum vote in 2021, which was boycotted by the indigenous Kanak people due to the effects of the covid-19 pandemic.

“The first thing to discuss is the conflict in relation to December 12, 2021,” he said.

“We cannot ignore what happened then. The state says there is a right for independence and that the accord is now past.

“We don’t believe it has finished because we feel still feel a sense of humiliation.”

In Paris, the alliance is set to meet French Prime Minister Elizabeth Borne.

In a statement, the FLNKS said they would discuss crucial topics such as the restricted electoral roll based on the Noumea Accord of 1998 which allows only people with 18 years presence in the territory to vote.

“The FLNKS reaffirms that the electoral citizens body is irreversible from the Noumea Accord, and that its modification could break the social peace in the country.”

They will also choose the next phase in order to progress the Noumea Accord, which in the eyes of the FLNKS remains unfinished.

“The next phase is how we will come out constructively of the Noumea Accord to rebuild something that resembles us and that brings the people of New Caledonia together,” the statement said.

The FLNKS statement affirms that all future discussions about the future of the country will be decided and acted in New Caledonia not France.

‘We will not reproduce the Accords’

New Caledonia’s High Commissioner Louis Le Franc said that France would not reproduce the Noumea Accords.

Seven months after taking his role in Noumea, the commissioner said he was optimistic about future trilateral discussions.

He said it was a shame the last meeting did not involve the anti-independence side.

“We are in a period, post-Noumea Accord, we will not reproduce the accords and we will hopefully find an intelligent solution for the sake of future generations.

“The French Minister of the Interior and French Overseas Minister only have one voice, therefore the framework put down is very hard to be respected.”

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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