As the violence calms down, Macron is in Nouméa to renew dialogue

As the violence calms down, Macron is in Nouméa to renew dialogue
As the violence calms down, Macron is in Nouméa to renew dialogue

After a very long trip, Emmanuel Macron set foot in New Caledonia this Thursday. The Head of State arrived at Nouméa airport around 8:20 a.m. local time (11:20 p.m. in mainland France on Wednesday).

“I simply wanted to tell you (…) my desire here, with the ministers and the entire government, to be alongside the population and so that as quickly as possible, there is a return to peace, calm, to security. This is the priority of priorities,” declared the president as soon as he got off the plane and after more than a week of riots which left the archipelago deeply bruised and in political impasse.

A minute of silence for the victims

While six people have been killed since the start of the violence, including two mobile gendarmes, he observed a minute of silence before a meeting with elected officials and economic players.

Arriving alongside ministers Gérald Darmanin (Interior), Sébastien Lecornu (Armies) and Marie Guévenoux (Overseas), Emmanuel Macron promised “decisions” and “announcements” at “the end of this day”, even if he assured that he had “no limit” on his time on site.

The president also underlined that “many populations are suffering today”, citing difficulties in accessing care, but also “supply”. Determined to restore order, he assured that the approximately 3,000 members of the security forces deployed “will remain as long as necessary, even during the Olympic and Paralympic Games” in Paris which end at the beginning of September.

State of emergency “should not be extended”

As for the state of emergency in force for a week, the head of state “thinks” that it “should not be extended” beyond the legal 12 days, provided that “all leaders” of the archipelago “call for the dams to be lifted”.

Accompanied by three senior officials who will be responsible for renewing dialogue with separatists and non-separatists, Emmanuel Macron called for “constructive appeasement” and the search for a political “solution”. But without going back to the result of the three referendums which confirmed the maintenance of the overseas territory in the Republic, because “appeasement cannot be a step backwards”, he argued.

On the ground, “the night was calm,” High Commissioner Louis Le Franc said this Thursday morning. “There was no additional damage but there are so many things that are destroyed,” he further argued. On the road which connects Dumbéa (north of the capital) to Nouméa, littered with numerous burned-out vehicle carcasses, filter dams persist. And in Greater Nouméa, the dams have been strengthened. On the other hand, life is resuming in the center of Nouméa, where many stores have reopened their doors, supervised by a strong police presence.

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