France’s Macron to travel to Australia and New Caledonia

Fresh from his visit to Washington, French President Emmanuel Macron is planning a 5-day trip next week to Australia and New Caledonia, a French territory in the South Pacific.

The president’s office said on Friday that Macron will seek closer cooperation on defense during his visit to Australia that starts May 1. French company Naval Group is building the Australian navy 12 submarines in a $36.3 billion deal.

Macron will then travel to New Caledonia, where a crucial self-determination referendum is being held in November.

The French president is set to attend ceremonies marking the 30th anniversary of when New Caledonia’s indigenous Melanesian tribesmen took French police and a judge hostage on Ouvea island. Four gendarmes and 19 hostage-takers died.

The events on Ouvea prompted a 1988 agreement between rival loyalist and pro-independence factions.

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