Pacific / New Caledonia

New Caledonian politician to condemn partition idea at UN

14:58 pm on 24 October 2019

Veteran New Caledonian pro-independence politician Roch Wamytan says he will denounce the suggestion of partitioning the territory at the United Nations.

Roch Wamytan Photo: AFP

An anti-independence politician Pierre Frogier has suggested that New Caledonia could do away with its central government and let the three provinces deal with Paris directly.

Mr Wamytan is the president of New Caledonia's Congress and Mr Frogier is a former president and now member of the French Senate.

They are both signatories to the 1998 Noumea Accord, which explicitly excludes the option of dividing New Caledonia.

Mr Wamytan told the Nouvelles Caledoniennes that the idea of breaking up the territory was mooted by France three decades ago but only now articulated by Mr Frogier.

Mr Frogier said the differences between the pro and anti-independence provinces were now so pronounced that there were two Caledonias, which he said would refuse to submit to the outcome of the independence referendum process.

Mr Wamytan has denounced Mr Frogier's comments, saying New Caledonia is one country and not three.

He also said France would not be allowed to repeat what it did with the Comoros.

At independence from France in 1974, Paris split the archipelago and kept Mayotte which has since become a French department and part of the eurozone.

Mr Wamytan said it was a French strategy to stay in Melanesia because of the Pacific's importance.