IGNORING PEOPLE RISKS BOUGAINVILLE PEACE PROCESS: MOMIS

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 14, 1998 - The National/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)---Bougainville MP and Opposition spokesman for Bougainville Affairs, John Momis, has warned that the fragile peace process might collapse if people were not meaningfully involved in rebuilding the province.

Mr. Momis, who has just returned from a week-long visit to the province, said the people must be involved in the peace process and failure to do that would mean that there would be no lasting peace on the island.

"I am warning the authorities on Bougainville, including the Bougainville Transitional Government (BTG), that the peace process, so very fragile as it already is, will collapse if the people of Bougainville are not meaningfully involved in the rebuilding process," he said.

Mr. Momis said many foreign companies and business houses were now poised to go into Bougainville in the name of development and reconstruction, but the lessons of the crisis ought never to be forgotten in their haste to make a quick buck.

"If the local people are again marginalised and alienated in the process of development -- never mind the goals of development -- the peace process will collapse, maybe for good," he said.

Mr. Momis said the people's wish to be involved effectively in the rebuilding and development of their lives and their province and at their own pace and using their own resources as much as possible must never be ignored.

He said the means were just as important to them as the end.

"Many of these companies and business houses did not lift a finger to help the Bougainville people when they appealed for help throughout the crisis," said Mr. Momis. "Now they want to take advantage of the absence of economic activity as a result of the crisis. They have been warned."

 

TMG CHIEF HAILS SUPPORT BY REBELS

Commander of the Truce Monitoring Group on Bougainville, Colonel Jeremiah Mateparae, has praised the Bougainville rebel leadership for giving the monitors its support.

Col. Mateparae made special mention of rebel leaders Joseph Kabui and Sam Kauona, saying that the kind of support TMG was getting from these two men indicated that the rank and file within the rebel hierarchy wanted total peace on Bougainville.

"Though we have at times had isolated incidents of violations, we have been assured that these incidences were caused by certain elements of the (rebels) who have their own agendas," he said.

The incidents Col. Mateparae was referring to involved some rebel members restricting the movement of TMG to the south of Aropa and up to Panguna.

But otherwise everything was looking okay and would go on smoothly to the cease fire on April 30, he said.

Col. Mateparae also reaffirmed New Zealand's total commitment in finding lasting solutions to the crisis.

A permanent cease fire takes effect on Bougainville on April 30 and a Peace Monitoring Group will take over from TMG from that day.

Title -- 1292 BOUGAINVILLE: Momis warning over peace process Date -- 14 April 1998 Byline – None Origin -- Pasifik Nius Source -- The National (PNG), 14/4/98 Copyright -- The National Status -- Unabridged

This document is for educational and personal use only. Recipients should seek permission from the copyright source for reprinting. This PASIFIK NIUS service is provided by the niusedita via the Journalism Program, University of the South Pacific, and Journalism Studies, University of PNG.

Please acknowledge Niuswire: niusedita@pactok.net.au http://www.pactok.net.au/docs/nius/

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