"PNG A VOLCANO ABOUT TO ERUPT": BOUGAINVILLE’S KABUI BACKS A

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PEOPLE'S REVOLT

By Harlyne Joku

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (March17, 2000 – The National)---Papua New Guinea is a like a volcano about to erupt, says Bougainville People's Congress (BPC) leader Joseph Kabui.

And he would support a "people's revolution" to fix the country's social ills because he believes the Government is not addressing these problems.

Mr. Kabui, who arrived yesterday in Port Moresby for the first time in 15 years, said he was saddened at the drastic changes in the city's appearance and the walls and fences that surround homes and offices and Parliament House.

He told The National yesterday that he was shocked at the change, which was obviously related to law and order problems.

He said that if he were in government he would support a people's revolution to change the current system and let PNG start off with a "clean slate" so that Papua New Guineans could be better off.

Mr. Kabui and Bougainville leaders are in Port Moresby for the third round of talks aimed at a political solution for the troubled North Solomons province.

The talks will be held at Loloata Island and both Mr. Kabui and Bougainville Affairs Minister Sir Michael Somare are optimistic that all issues of referendum and autonomy would be discussed during the next two days.

Mr. Kabui said that PNG resource owners were strugglers in their own land as was the case in Bougainville where Bougainvilleans had a similar experience with the Bougainville Copper Limited's Panguna mine.

He said because of that experience, he would support a people's revolution to stop this.

Mr. Kabui said fences and walls were symptoms and signs of danger, that people were not happy with the system, which was not addressing their needs.

The leaders must look at the root causes of law and order problems and take immediate remedial measures, he added.

"It is a like a kettle boiling over or a volcano that is about to erupt. A people's revolution is going to take place and the leaders must take measures to stop this. We must not build fences and walls to protect us; it is a clear sign that there is something wrong with us," said Mr. Kabui.

"It is a clear indication that there are problems in the country and if nothing is done another revolution may spring up as in Bougainville."

Mr. Kabui said the people of Bougainville and he as their leader would not want to be part of the problems faced by PNG.

"We wouldn't want to be part of PNG and its problems. Enough is enough. We are seeing that people who are owners of the resources in their own land are being deprived and are in poverty. We are being made strugglers on our own land," Mr. Kabui said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta in a statement yesterday commended the National Government team and the Bougainville leaders for the "serious approach" to the current talks on the political future of Bougainville.

Sir Mekere issued the statement after an informal meeting with the Bougainville delegation.

The Bougainville delegation includes Mr. Kabui, Governor John Momis, James Tanis, Thomas Anis, and Gerard Sinato.

Sir Mekere, who has had regular briefings on the peace process, said the process was now at an important and sensitive turning point.

"The challenge before us is great but I am confident that together we can meet it. We must do all we can to avoid unnecessary misunderstanding, where quiet, more thoughtful exchanges of ideas are more likely to produce positive results," he said.

"As you exchange ideas over the next few days, be assured of my Government's firm commitment to peace by peaceful means. I look forward to learning the results of your work as you proceed."

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

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