PEACE PROCESS ON BOUGAINVILLE COULD BE MEANINGLESS: TOGUATA

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (July 15, 1998 - Radio Australia)---A senior Papua New Guinea police officer says the peace process on Bougainville could be meaningless, if the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) rebels continue to have no respect for the law.

Assistant Police Commissioner John Toguata was speaking as a police investigation continued into the destruction of 12 classrooms by arsonists at Arawa last weekend.

He says the arrest of those responsible will depend on the cooperation of the BRA leaders.

However, Mr. Toguata also warned of problems to the peace process if police lay charges, saying that police action could upset the entire peace process.

He says he will be raising his concerns with government and BRA leaders when they meet in Arawa next week.

 

NEXT STEP IN PEACE PROCESS ON BOUGAINVILLE COULD BE DELAYED

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (July 16, 1998 - Radio Australia)---The next major step in the peace process on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville seems certain to be delayed again.

The leaders meeting had been scheduled to discuss the political status of Bougainville.

Radio Australia correspondent Sean Dorney reports that the head of the PNG Government's Office of Bougainville Affairs has dismissed speculation that he had gone to Bougainville to sort out details of the meeting.

"The leaders meeting has been deferred once and hopes that it might happen before the end of July are fast fading. The Peace Process Consultative Committee hasn't even met.

"In a brief statement, PNG's Secretary for Bougainville Affairs, Bill Dihm, says his Minister, Sam Akoitai, and PNG's Special State Negotiator, Sir John Kaputin, are in contact with the secessionist leaders, Joseph Kabui and Sam Kauona, and the Transitional Premier.

"He says there will be no meetings, even of officials, until those consultations are completed.

"The weekend arson of school rooms in Arawa and claims of unfair distribution of restoration aid illustrate that the Bougainville peace process has reached a difficult phase.

"Sean Dorney, Port Moresby."

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