PNG FOREIGN MINISTER GENIA INFORMS UN ABOUT BOUGAINVILLE STATUS

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (October 8, 1997 -Radio Australia)--- Papua New Guinea's Foreign Minister, Kilroy Genia, says his government supports a peaceful and enduring resolution to the nine-year conflict on mineral-rich Bougainville Island.

Genia gave the assurances during a speech this week before the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

He said the PNG government would continue to give the people of war-torn Bougainville every opportunity to fully participate in the reconciliation process.

Genia expressed the thanks of his government to Australia and New Zealand for initiating and facilitating the current peace talks now underway.

He also thanked the current and previous governments of the Solomon Islands for their tolerance and understanding, especially in dealing with the spill-over effects of the conflict along the Bougainville-Solomon Islands border areas.

Genia expressed confidence before the UN that resolution to the crisis within the framework of the Papua New Guinea constitution is possible and near.

Last week, the second round of Bougainville peace talks began at Burnham Military Camp near Christchurch on New Zealand's South Island.

Representatives of Papua New Guinea, for the first time, and various representatives of Bougainville rebel factions are discussing a cease-fire to end nine continuing years of bloodshed on the eastern PNG island.

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