ONA CHOOSES TO "MARGINALIZE HIMSELF" FROM

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BOUGAINVILLEANS SAYS KABUI

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (May 5, 19989 - Post-Courier)---The Vice President of the Bougainville Interim Government, Joseph Kabui, says the so-called resolution by the chiefs empowering Francis Ona is a sham, reports the Post-Courier.

In a press release, Mr. Kabui said: "The meeting at Pakia unanimously refused to sign the resolution which Mr. Ona tried to elicit with armed intimidation and walked out on the President.

"I believe that there were only two or three people left in the meeting at the time Ona claims he called for a show of hands. The entire show was planned by Rosemary Gillespie with the President but failed."

"Mr. Ona has now chosen to marginalize himself from his people, his army and the peace process for reasons best known to himself," said General Sam Kauona, Commander of the BRA, who also expressed confusion about Mr. Ona's press release.

"These areas Francis Ona claims are under Bougainville Defense Force control are still maintained by the BRA, which totally respects the cease fire,'' he said from BRA headquarters.

"We have no idea who the so-called Bougainville Defense Force may be, perhaps his last remaining supporters.

"Just when we have Bougainvilleans united behind peace and a cease fire in place, the last thing we need is a fresh set of enemies,'' said Mr. Kauona.

Mr. Kabui said the BIG cabinet was saddened by Mr. Ona's rejection of his own people's aspirations for a peaceful resolution to the problems on Bougainville.

"Neither the cabinet nor myself are aware of any edicts having been passed by any organization on Bougainville supporting this nonsense, especially by the cabinet of BIG," he said.

Mr. Kabui said: "Francis Ona has left us no choice but to move a vote of no confidence and remove him from his symbolic office of President by an act of cabinet.

"For some time now he has been a loner without a role in the peace process, which all Bougainvilleans have seen as the only way forward to secure justice, our freedom and a lasting peace.

"We know that even his own villagers in Guava no longer respect Mr. Ona because they have seen enough of his contradictions, both personally and professionally.'' He said the BIG/BRA and the people of Bougainville will not stand for any threats being made against the process "we have begun towards peace, justice and freedom.''

The Bougainville Freedom Movement has also supported the peace process in order to bring about self-determination for the people of Bougainville.

It said the international community and the people of Bougainville are deeply saddened by the stance of Mr. Francis Ona.

"We believe that there is time for Francis Ona to reconsider his threats and to attend the ongoing peace process,'' it said.

Title -- 1334 BOUGAINVILLE: Olive branch offered to Ona

Date -- 5 May 1998 Byline – None Origin -- Pasifik Nius Source -- Post-Courier (PNG), 5/5/98 Copyright -- Post-Courier Status – Abridged

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