June 16, 2024

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Australia and New Zealand evacuate dozens of their citizens from New Caledonia

Australia and New Zealand evacuate dozens of their citizens from New Caledonia

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Australian military has airlifted 115 passengers Two trips An Australian government minister said on Wednesday that Australia will leave the troubled territory of New Caledonia in the Pacific Ocean, and will continue to work with France to return all Australians who want to leave.

Pacific Affairs Minister Pat Conroy said Australian citizens represented 84 of the passengers who were flown on two Royal Australian Air Force C-130 Hercules planes from the capital, Noumea, to the city of Brisbane on Australia’s east coast late on Tuesday.

Conroy did not mention the nationalities of the remaining 31 passengers. But he said Australia had reciprocal arrangements with Canada and Japan to help their citizens in crises.

More than 200 other Australians have registered with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to leave the South Pacific region where a 12-day state of emergency has been declared.

“We have prioritized the elderly, pregnant women and the most vulnerable,” Conroy told the Nine Network.

“We will continue to work with the French government to make sure we get everything

“An Australian from New Caledonia wants to leave,” Conroy added.

Conroy said he had been informed France was planning more flights to Brisbane on Wednesday.

“We’re working hard to make sure we get as many Australians on those flights as possible,” Conroy said.

A second group of 100 New Zealanders were flown home from New Caledonia via Brisbane on Wednesday after about 100 were flown to the New Zealand city of Auckland on Tuesday evening, the New Zealand Herald reported.

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French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to arrive on Thursday in New Caledonia, where indigenous people have long sought independence.

Six people They were killed, including two police officers, and hundreds were injured in New Caledonia during armed clashes, looting and arson, raising new questions about Macron’s handling of France’s colonial legacy.

Unrest broke out on May 13 when the French legislature in Paris discussed amending the French constitution to make changes to New Caledonia’s voter lists. Opponents fear the measure will benefit pro-French politicians in New Caledonia and further marginalize the Kanak, who once suffered from strict apartheid policies and widespread discrimination.

The road leading to New Caledonia International Airport remained closed on Wednesday.