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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (May 5, 1998 - The National)---Papua New Guinea's Deputy Opposition leader Peter Peipul yesterday urged the Government to allow the people of Bougainville to take over 100 percent control and ownership of the Panguna mine, the National reports.

Commenting on rebel leader Francis Ona's "shoot to kill" orders, Mr. Peipul said he did not believe Mr. Ona was serious in issuing the order.

He added that Mr. Ona's main concern could be the future of mine.

"I believe that (Mr. Ona's) primary concern is the Panguna copper mine and its future. After all, Bougainville Copper Limited was the central issue which gave rise to the current political and economic strife on the island," Mr. Peipul said.

"The issue of BCL can be appreciated by many, both within PNG and overseas, including Australia because CRA is owned principally by shareholders of Australia. It is also understood suspicions held by Francis Ona about Australia concerning BCL are genuine.

"Therefore, the Opposition believes, as regards BCL and its opening of the Panguna copper mine, that the mining lease owned by CRA should be allowed to lapse.

"We understand that CRA has four years of the agreement left. The four years in the agreement should be allowed to expire and the National Government of Papua New Guinea ought ... (to) transfer 100 per cent of BCL to the people of Bougainville.

"After having transferred the mining lease to the people, (the government should) allow Bougainvilleans to take over the copper mine and develop it for the benefit of Papua New Guinea.

"If CRA would like to continue to develop the mine, they should approach the North Solomons provincial government and Francis Ona to provide a management service (for) the owners who are the landowners of the copper mine.

"This is the most amicable and most logical way to allow the owners of the resource to take control of the copper mine."

On the "shoot to kill" order, Mr. Peipul said: "After having attended the cease fire ceremony last week, I do not believe that Francis Ona ...should carry out such inhuman activities as killing unarmed peace keepers from Australia, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji.

"I believe ... that Francis Ona would really like peace and normalcy to return to Bougainville. After all, he allowed the cease fire (agreement) to be signed although he did not participate himself."

Title -- 1333 BOUGAINVILLE: Opposition plea over Panguna mine Date -- 5 May 1998 Byline – None Origin -- Pasifik Nius Source -- The National (PNG), 5/5/98 Copyright -- The National Status – Abridged

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