BOUGAINVILLE MILITARY RESTRICTIONS FORMALLY LIFTED

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CANBERRA, Australia (October 27, 1997 - PACNEWS)---All military restrictions on Bougainville Island have been formally lifted in accordance with the Burnham Declaration.

Papua New Guinea Defense Force commander, Brigadier General Leo Nuia, says people are now free to travel anywhere in Bougainville and there no longer is a requirement to seek clearance from security forces.

Shipping companies have also been given the all-clear to resume services to all parts of the mineral-rich island, cut off by an economic blockade imposed at the height of the Bougainville crisis in May 1990.

The Burnham Declaration, making possible the lifting of travel restrictions, was agreed to at peace talks that took place last month at Burnham Army Camp, near Christchurch, New Zealand.

Participants in the accord include the Papua New Guinea government, several secessionists organizations, and other groups involved in the Bougainville insurrection over the past nine years.

Meantime, a top Bougainville rebel leader, Sylvester Vane, is in serious condition at Bougainville's Sohano Hospital. He was injured in an accident, when the vehicle in which he was traveling ran off the road and overturned.

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