DELAY IN MEETING OF PNG AND BOUGAINVILLE LEADERS

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (June 29, 1998 - Radio Australia)---A meeting between the Papua New Guinea government and Bougainville rebels to discuss the issue of independence has been delayed.

Prime Minister Bill Skate says he is disappointed by the delay in the leaders’ meeting that was scheduled to take place by June 30.

Radio Australia correspondent Sean Dorney reports:

"On Bougainville both the PNG-recognized Transitional Government and the rebel Interim Government have agreed that the leaders’ meeting -- meant to happen before the end of June -- should be deferred to next month. Prime Minister Skate left it until the last minute to agree.

"Mr. Skate says the Lincoln Agreement provided no mechanism for cancellation or deferral. However, although he is disappointed, he says his Government has accepted the delay the Bougainvillean parties have proposed.

"Mr. Skate says details of the deferred meeting will be made public as soon as his Special State Negotiator, Sir John Kaputin, has sorted out the details with the other parties.

"Sean Dorney, Port Moresby."

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