MOMIS URGES UNITY AMONG BOUGAINVILLE LEADERS

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HOKO, Papua New Guinea (August 3, 2000 – The National)---A united leadership must be maintained throughout the negotiation period and beyond if Bougainville is to gain an autonomous government in the near future.

Bougainville Governor John Momis said this at Hoko yesterday during a meeting with the chiefs and elders from all over Buka.

The meeting was held to iron out differences between the Leitana Council of Chiefs and members of the Bougainville People's Congress.

Mr. Momis urged the leaders to be more positive and not to confuse themselves with side issues as the negotiations are in their most crucial stages, and any misunderstanding and disagreements would only divide the leaders.

He reminded the leaders about the cease-fire agreement signed by the Bougainvillean leaders to end all hostilities and to negotiate on the future of Bougainville with the Papua New Guinea government.

Mr. Momis said he is unhappy over reports that after the September 15 deadline there would be trouble.

He said: "I am very concerned about what some leaders are saying. This has a negative effect on our people. The people must not be misled."

Leitana Council of Chiefs chairman Joel Banam and Bougainville People's Congress vice president Thomas Anis vowed to work together.

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

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

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