BOUGAINVILLE PEACE TALKS RESUME

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RABAUL, Papua New Guinea (October 7, 1998 - The National)---The Bougainville Peace Process Consultative Committee (PPCC) will meet today in Arawa to discuss, among other issues, a date for the next round of leaders' talks.

Rebel leaders Joseph Kabui and Sam Kauona left for Arawa yesterday morning.

Spokesman Andrew Miriki said they regarded the meeting as an important avenue for pushing outstanding matters.

Their overseas representatives, Martin Miriori, Mike Foster and Moses Haiviai, had also made efforts to attend the meeting.

Miriki said the rebels will not introduce any new items at the meeting. However, they will express concern about certain comments from the PNG government and opposition that were considered disrespectful towards the peace process.

He said the peace committee was established under the Lincoln Agreement and it was disappointing to see leaders arguing about issues such as possible constitutional amendments to the organic law to cater for the reconciliation government.

"I must say we are disappointed that the government has gone to some lengths in making certain decisions without the consultation of the PPCC," he said.

"One example is the gazetting of the constitutional amendments on the organic law to extend the term of the Bougainville Transitional Government.

"Likewise, the opposition, led by their leader Bernard Narokobi, has also gone out of the spirit of the peace process to make certain political scoring point remarks.

"This, in fact, will be a major concern that will be raised at this meeting."

Miriki said leaders would contribute meaningfully to the peace process through the committee and not the media.

He said there must be understanding among parties involved in the peace process towards reaching a favorable solution.

"We have made a commitment to pursue all matters through a consultative process during the Lincoln agreement and we stand by that," Miriki said.

The government delegation to the peace talks will be led by Bougainville Affairs Minister Sam Akoita and will include Department Secretary Bill Dilm and Defense Force Commander Brigadier General Leo Nuia.

The talks will end on Friday.

For additional reports from The National, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The National (Papua New Guinea).

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