New Zealand calls for 'cool heads' as New Caledonia flights wind up

 - Sakshi Post

Wellington, May 28 (IANS/DPA) New Zealand has finished evacuating tourists from New Caledonia, as France lifted a state of emergency in the overseas territory in the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday.

The state of emergency was in place for 12 days due to pro-independence protests, in which seven people died, and hundreds were detained, following plans in Paris regarding a constitutional amendment.

The situation in New Caledonia remained of "utmost importance" to New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said.

New Zealand would work with France, Australia and Pacific Island partners to "encourage steps towards a resolution to the current situation which respects basic principles of dialogue and fairness," he said.

"Now is the time for cool heads, wisdom, and open dialogue on all sides."

More than 300 people, including 145 foreign nationals from 20 other countries, had been evacuated out of New Caledonia to New Zealand, Peters said.

"New Zealanders regularly benefit from consular assistance from our partners in distant places where we are not represented, so it was important that we reciprocate in this instance," Peters said.

Tourists from the US, Britain, Australia, France and New Zealand's Pacific partners were evacuated, he said.

"We were also pleased to assist New Caledonians, stuck in New Zealand due to the unrest and the closure of Noumea's international airport, to return home."

Although the situation has largely calmed down, the airport in the capital, Noumea, which has been closed since May 14, is to remain closed to all commercial flights until at least June 2.

Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by the Sakshi Post team and is auto-generated from syndicated feed.

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