RESISTANCE LEADER SAYS BOUGAINVILLEANS WANT RESTRICTED ENTRY TO THE ISLAND

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CANBERRA, Australia (May 17, 1998 - PACNEWS/Ioane)---The Secretary of the Bougainville Interim Government (BIG), Martin Miriori, says there is a strong feeling among Bougainvilleans that other people, especially Papua New Guineans, should be restricted from freely entering the island.

Bougainvilleans, he said, want to protect their land and economic opportunities against outside interests, as well as guard against the re-introduction of squatter settlements.

"Squatter settlements are now an endemic problem in PNG. They are one of the biggest problems facing the PNG government and they don't seem to have the answers to them."

Miriori, who has been living in exile in Holland, was speaking at a media conference in Sydney last week.

He and BIG's Sydney-based international representative, Moses Havini, have just spent 10 days on Bougainville observing the peace agreement.

Miriori dismissed threats made by hard-line secessionist leader Francis Ona against members of the Neutral Regional Peace Monitoring Group (NRPMG), saying the Bougainville Revolutionary Army would continue to fully guarantee their safety.

He called on Ona to join the peace process and respect the wishes of the people for a peaceful resolution to the war.

Miriori has left Sydney for Holland but, when departing, said he hoped to return to Bougainville once "a few political issues" are settled.

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