SOLOMON ISLANDS OBSERVERS UNABLE TO ATTEND BOUGAINVILLE MEETING

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (January 12, 1998 - PACNEWS)---The Solomon Islands observer delegation which was to have attended the Roreinang talks among all Bougainvillean factions last week did not make it to the meeting.

A member of the delegation, former Governor General and Chairman of the 1994 peace talks in Arawa, Sir George Lepping, said upon returning to Honiara Sunday that transportation difficulties and bad weather had prevented the group from reaching the meeting venue.

Sir George said, however, that they had been briefed by the Bougainville Transitional Government Premier, Gerard Sinato, and other BTG and Bougainvillean leaders about the Roreinang talks and progress on the peace process.

He said the meeting, attended by some 5,000 Bougainvilleans had discussed a variety of subjects that will be considered at the leaders’ summit in Christchurch, New Zealand next week, including the political future of Bougainville.

Sir George said although the Solomon Islands observer group was not able to meet representatives of the secessionist Bougainville Interim Government while at Buka, they expected to be briefed when the BIG delegation to the New Zealand talks arrives in Honiara Tuesday on its way to Christchurch.

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