Paris [France], October 4 (ANI/Sputnik): French President Emmanuel Macron has said on Sunday that he accepts with "humility" the result of an independence referendum in the overseas territory of New Caledonia, which has seen voters choose to stay as part of France.
New Caledonia held its second independence referendum in the space of two years on Sunday, and the French Ministry of the Overseas has said that 53.26 percent of votes were against independence.
"I accept these results with humility. I hear the voices of those who want independence, and I want to tell them that only together, with you, will we build the New Caledonia of the future," Macron said in an address.
The French president noted the high turnout of more than 85 percent, adding that a third referendum on New Caledonia's independence could be possible in the future.
"It is up to the members of the [New Caledonian] Congress. The state, true to its word, is ready to organise it [a third referendum] if they wish," Macron remarked.
The Noumea Accord, a de-colonization agreement signed in 1998, established the framework for holding independence referendums in New Caledonia, a series of islands in the South Pacific that has been part of France since 1853.
The island archipelago has its own government, although matters of defense, justice, and foreign affairs are managed by Paris. An independence referendum held in November 2018 saw more than 56 percent vote in favor of prolonging the status quo. (ANI/Sputnik)