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ARAWA, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea (January 4, 1999 - Post-Courier)---Disunity has been the biggest problem and the root cause of prolonging the Bougainville peace process, says the Co-chairman of the Bougainville Constituent Assembly, Joseph Kabui.

Mr. Kabui was speaking in response to the move by a delegation of Buka chiefs visiting Port Moresby last week who presented a petition to Bougainville Affairs Minister Sam Akoitai.

The nine-point petition calls for a fresh view of the Bougainville situation, particularly for a government under the auspices of the 1995 provincial government reforms.

The petition brands the leaders as "dishonest and incompetent,'' and claimed Buka had not seen any meaningful developments.

The move by the Buka leaders was a stumbling block for the newly formed Bougainville Constituent Assembly, a platform for formation of the BRG, although the NEC had dissolved the Bougainville Transitional Government and given powers to the Bougainville Affairs Minister to head the assembly in creating the BRG.

He criticized the delegation for travelling out of the province to seek another opinion, when they could have sat together and sorted out their problems.

"The problem is at home and we should sort out our house first.''

Mr. Kabui urged the Buka chiefs to give BRG and its leaders a chance to prove themselves first. He said the assembly did not fear threats by the Buka chiefs to make Buka the 20th province of PNG.

He said he was aware of the move by Buka chiefs, long before it was made public. He said the assembly needed the chiefs' support to help make the peace process work.

"So much has been achieved and so much more can be achieved since Bougainvilleans made a commitment to reconcile with each other.''

Meanwhile, Mr. Kabui said the BRA was intact and very much under his and Sam Kauona's control.

The PNG Defense Force claimed the BRA was out of control and harassing PNG soldiers on Bougainville.

Mr. Kabui said there were minor problems involving a minority group and that his government was working with chiefs to "sort things out."

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

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