CONCERTED EFFORT NEEDED FOR BOUGAINVILLE PEACE

admin's picture

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (July 30, 2000 – Post-Courier)---The future of the peace process and relations between Bougainville and the rest of Papua New Guinea depended on how well the two can work together both now and in the future to secure lasting peace, Bougainville Affairs Minister Sir Michael Somare said.

In a ministerial statement delivered in Parliament, he outlined various issues.

These included commitments resulting from the signing of the Loloata Understanding, the Lincoln Agreement, the Gateway Communiqué, the executive workshop on Bougainville autonomy, and the recent technical officers’ meeting.

Sir Michael urged leaders on all sides to keep consulting and cooperating for the sake of securing lasting peace by peaceful means.

"The Bougainville peace process is at a critical point with difficult and divisive issues awaiting resolution," he said.

"While progress has sometimes been slower than some of us might have preferred, the talks which led to the Loloata Understanding and following meetings have been productive," he added.

Sir Michael called on all partners in Bougainville to ensure the kind of atmosphere which would identify options to help bridge outstanding differences.

The move would further develop common understandings between both parties.

On the same note, he called on the National Government and its members to remain firmly committed to the peace process.

He said progress will be made if those outside the process join in.

 

FIRM STANCE ON PNG AUTONOMY CALL

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (July 28, 2000 – Post-Courier)---Bougainville is preparing to settle for a firm agreement on the highest form of autonomy and a referendum on independence as opposed to a ‘band-aid’ solution to the conflict, Interim Deputy Governor Gerard Sinato said.

He expects Papua New Guinea and Bougainville to sign an agreement that will pave the way for a lasting solution in September.

Mr. Sinato said the Bougainville leaders and the National Government should not be misled by the peace on Bougainville that has existed since the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement in1998.

"In reality the people are waiting for an answer from the National Government on autonomy and a referendum," he said.

"Their waiting should not be taken for granted that they are satisfied with the peace process.

"Since the Loloata Understanding and Gateway Communiqué negotiations have progressed very slowly," he said.

 

WEAPONS DISPOSAL PLANS

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (July 28, 2000 – Post-Courier)---The weapons disposal exercise on Bougainville will take effect after plans are developed and finalized as agreed by the Peace Process Consultative Committee (PPCC).

At its first meeting, held this week, the committee agreed to proceed with the development of plans for weapons disposal on Bougainville as outlined in the Lincoln Agreement.

It also heard a report from the United Nations Observer Mission on Bougainville (UNOMB) director and PPCC chairman Ambassador Noel Sinclair.

He outlined plans and principles based on consultations with all parties to allow for the process to continue.

Mr. Sinclair said the process should be assisted by a fund with an initial donation of K 200,000 (US$ 76,000) from the National Government.

He suggested other governments could also contribute. The plans to be developed and agreed by all parties will have access to the fund to facilitate planning and disposal of weapons.

All parties agreed that the plans should be developed urgently.

"The report by the PMG commander gives us clear evidence of the danger that the continued uncontrolled presence of weapons on Bougainville constitutes for society and for the peace process. It is essential that while we wait for the final resolution of the political issues and a settlement of the question of the manner in which weapons will be disposed off, serious consideration be given to a process of weapons control on Bougainville," Mr. Sinclair said.

Meanwhile, the National Government yesterday commended the PPCC and gave assurances that they were firmly committed to helping with the issue. In a statement, Assistant Police Commissioner Fred Sheekiot said he hoped the participants made use of the committee meeting and make real progress towards reaching agreement on the main issue on the agenda -- the finalization of practical plans for weapons disposal.

Mr. Sheekiot said the size, seniority and range of government agencies represented in his delegation showed that the National Government took the meeting seriously.

"We are ready to get down to detailed work on developing practical plans for weapons disposal. We look to our partners on Bougainville to work with us in making the progress, which our leaders expect and which is the right of people on the ground," he said.

"Weapons disposal is not just an item on the PPCC’s agenda, it is, as the Lincoln and Ceasefire Agreements recognize, integral to peace building overall," he added.

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

Provided by Vikki John ( VIKKI@law.uts.edu.au

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment