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The nickel-rich Pacific island of New Caledonia will hold a referendum on November 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 1200km 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.