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Introduction: Settled by both Britain and France during the first half of the 19th century, the island was made a French possession in 1853. It served as a penal colony for four decades after 1864. Agitation for independence during the 1980s and early 1990s ended in the 1998 Noumea Accord, which over a period of 15 to 20 years will transfer an increasing amount of governing responsibility from France to New Caledonia. The agreement also commits France to conduct a referendum between 2014 and 2019 to decide whether New Caledonia should assume full sovereignty and...
Foreign Relations: As provided for in the Noumea Accord, New Caledonia and France now share responsibility for New Caledonia's regional relations, allowing New Caledonia to apply to join some international organisations in its own right. Accordingly, New Caledonia became an Observer to the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in 1999 and in 2006 was welcomed into the new PIF category of Associate Member. At the 2010 PIF Leaders' Meeting, New Caledonia signalled formally its interest in becoming a full member in future. New Caledonia is a long-standing member of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) (http://www.dfat.gov.au/geo/spacific/regional_orgs/pc.html) , ...
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