separatists and loyalists meet again at Matignon
Elisabeth Borne and Gérald Darmanin during a meeting with the FLNKS in Matignon, April 11,…
Self-determination for New Caledonia, when and how? The subject becomes explosive again. ” We are going forward “we were assured, Tuesday, April 11, in Matignon, where the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, received two delegations separately, eight leaders of independentist parties from the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS), then eight elected loyalists.
Meetings “bilateral” are planned throughout the week under the direction of the Minister for Overseas Territories, Gérald Darmanin. Objective: to engage the “continuity” of the Nouméa agreement of 1998, which had thrown the “irreversible gains” of a large Caledonian autonomy in the Constitution. The fixed point of arrival, the “full sovereignty” or its rejection by referendum, has not been reached within the twenty years provided for by the agreement.
The government can say ” satisfied “, the FLNKS accepted the invitation to come to Paris. In October 2022, the separatists had refused to move, before a difficult congress of their movement. Today, Matignon hopes “leaving a winner”. But the wrestlers placed themselves at the furthest points of the ring and did not start the fight.
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“No decision can be taken in Paris”
Even if their discussions behind closed doors are more nuanced, the two camps express radically opposed positions. On the bottom, first: on one side “accession to full and entire sovereignty in 2025” for the Caledonian Union (UC), the main formation of the FLNKS; on the other, for the loyalists, “a horizon line fixed on the right to self-determination” with a French New Caledonia.
On the method, then: “No decision can be taken in Paris” without the activists validating it, says the UC. “We are moving forward and we are assuming with our base in Nouméa”says Sonia Backès, leader of the loyalists at the head of the southern province of the archipelago, but also secretary of state in the Borne government.
The State repeats that “the only red line” is the sum of the three “noes” to independence resulting from the referendums of 2018, 2020 and 2021. The separatists continue to believe that this last ballot was ” stolen “ – his boycott, in the midst of Covid-19, by the FLNKS froze the situation. “It is a question of talking again about self-determination as a horizon that cannot be reduced to independence”, bets the Ministry of the Interior. The latter put on the table the two most difficult subjects, self-determination and the New Caledonian electorate, which had been restricted and then frozen for the referendums – a point favorable to the Kanaks, a minority in the population.
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