In riot-hit New Caledonia, French President Macron says priority is return to calm amid unrest

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President Emmanuel Macron arrived Thursday in riot-hit New Caledonia, having crossed the globe by plane in a high-profile show of support for the French Pacific archipelago wracked by deadly unrest and where Indigenous people have long sought independence from France.

Macron, who briefly spoke to reporters after his arrival at La Tontouta International Airport, about 30 miles from the New Caledonian capital of Noumea, said he viewed a return to calm as the top priority.

He said that his wish, along with that of his ministers and the government, was “to be alongside the people and see a return to peace, calm and security as soon as possible.”

Macron added he planned to meet with local officials and discuss the resources needed to repair the damage wrought by days of shootings, arson and other violence that has left at least six dead and a broad trail of destruction estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of euros.