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The Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Committee to New Caledonia is in Noumea, New Caledonia, to meet with relevant stakeholders and observe the November 4 referendum on full sovereignty and independence.
The visit responds to the outcomes of the Forty-ninth Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting in Nauru.
Established in 1990 by Pacific Islands Forum Leaders, the Forum Ministerial Committee is mandated to observe the progress of implementation of the Noumea Accord and its predecessor Matignon Accord, which set the agreed pathway towards self-determination for the people of New Caledonia.
The mission is led by the Honourable Milton Dube, Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nauru and Special Envoy of President Divavesi Waqa of Nauru and Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum. Other members of the Ministerial Committee are Jean-Pierre Nirua, Minister of Education and Training of Vanuatu, and Daryl Mapu, Manager, Returning Services Division, Office of the Electoral Commissioner, Samoa. The Ministerial Committee is supported by Forum Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor and Forum Secretariat staff.
Minister Dube reaffirmed the Forum’s continued commitment to New Caledonia. “This Ministerial Committee is the embodiment of the Forum’s ongoing support and solidarity with the people of New Caledonia, as they decide on their political future.”
Minister Dube also congratulated New Caledonia on the immense progress made in implementing the Noumea Accord. “The establishment of the institutions of governance under the Accord, the specific recognition of the Kanak identity, as well as the acceptance that New Caledonia is home to other communities are notable achievements that speak to the great value of the Noumea Accord as a mechanism for nation building.”
The Committee, which will consult with a wide range of stakeholders in the lead up to the referendum, also expressed its appreciation to the Government of New Caledonia and the High Commissioner of the French Republic to New Caledonia for their support in facilitating the visit.
“We are cognisant that New Caledonia is at a critical juncture in its political journey and we appreciate the opportunity to be here with you as you decide on your future” said Minister Dube. “We also take this opportunity to convey the best wishes of the Forum region on this milestone event and reassure our continued commitment and support of the decision of the people of New Caledonia.”
This is the ninth visit of the Ministerial Committee to New Caledonia, having last visited in 2013.
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