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BOUGAINVILLE, Papua New Guinea (April 13, 1999 - Radio Australia)---A meeting of Bougainville leaders planned for this week will not take place.

As Radio Australia correspondent Richard Dinnen reports some Bougainville, leaders have refused to attend.

"The New Zealand Government had offered to host a meeting -- and fly participants from Bougainville to New Zealand.

"The trip had been described as a study tour. Bougainville leaders would have met Maori leaders and studied their approach to conflict resolution. "It was hoped the trip would somehow give new impetus to the Bougainville peace process -- which appears to have stalled.

"Representatives of the Bougainville Resistance Force and the Buka chiefs have refused to go to New Zealand, and the PNG Government says the trip will not proceed.

"Bougainville leaders are split on the issue of disarmament, and over an election later this month, which some say will be illegal.

"Richard Dinnen, Bougainville."


MELBOURNE, Australia (April 13, 1999 - PACNEWS/Radio Australia)---An Australian Government committee predicts it will take a long time to rebuild the Papua New Guinea Island of Bougainville, after years of conflict on the island.

Radio Australia reports the committee, set up by the Australian Foreign Affairs Department, is examining Australia's role in the peace process.

The committee, led by Federal Liberal Party Parliamentarian David Jull, is taking submissions at public hearings in Melbourne and Sydney this week following a recent visit by its members to Bougainville.

Jull said the reconstruction would be very slow.

"A small group of us went to Bougainville three or four weeks ago and spoke to all the players both on the Island and in (the PNG capital of) Port Moresby," Jill said. "This gave us a better indication of not only what is going on but the extent of the devastation and of the needs of the people of Bougainville.

"There has been very little in the way of education, very little in the way of health services, very little in the way of maintenance on Bougainville now for nine to 10 years, and there is not much infrastructure there. " Jill said.

"I think one of the great things about the situation is that the peacekeeping monitors that Australia has provided along with New Zealand, Fiji and Vanuatu have managed to maintain the cease-fire and keep the peace process going."

Jull said Australia continued to play a major role in the reconstruction of Bougainville, but needs to do more.

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