March 19, 2018 / 5:36 PM / in a month

French island of New Caledonia to vote on independence on Nov. 4

PARIS (Reuters) - The nickel-rich Pacific island of New Caledonia will hold a referendum on Nov. 4 on whether to break away from France and become independent, a government source said on Monday.

Talks on the future of the island, which lies 1,200 km (750 miles) east of Australia and 20,000 km from Paris, began in 1988 after a period of separatist conflict, including the “Ouvea cave massacre” in which 19 Kanaks and two French soldiers were killed.

A deal in 1998 provided for a referendum on independence to be held by the end of 2018.

Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Andrew Roche

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