Vanuatu Prime Minister Charlot Salwai and chair of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) has reaffirmed MSG support of the Front de Libération Nationale Kanak et Socialiste(FLNKS) position opposing the French government’s constitutional bill aimed at unfreezing New Caledonia’s electoral roll.

“There’s an urgent need now for France to agree to the proposal by the FLNKS to establish a dialogue and mediation mission to be led by a mutually agreed high personality, to discuss a way forward so that normalcy can be restored quickly and an enduring peace can prevail”

“These events could have been avoided if the French government had listened, and not proceeded to bulldose the Constitutional Bill aimed at unfreezing the electoral roll, modifying the citizen’s electorate and changing the distribution of seats in Congress,” Salwai said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Vanuatu Government has expressed concerned with the unfolding developments in New Caledonia, home to many of its citizens and students.

“The government want to assures families in Vanuatu that it is closely monitoring the situation in close collaboration with the Vanuatu Consul General in Noumea and authorities in New Caledonia.

“At this time the government has been informed that all Vanuatu nationals residing in New Caledonia are safe and well.

“We urge our citizens in New Caledonia to remain calm and at best adhere to the local laws and regulations to ensure wellbeing and safety of our community abroad.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is ready to provide necessary consular support to our nationals with assistance of our representative in New Caledonia,” the Vanuatu Government said in a statement.

In another development, a statement from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said: “Australia values our relationship with both New Caledonia and the French State. We respect and support the referendum process under the Nouméa Accord and discussions underway…”.

“We encourage all parties to work together constructively to shape New Caledonia’s institutional future,” said DFAT.