PNG CABINET APPROVES MOVES FOR BOUGAINVILLE AUTONOMY

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (November 14, 2001 – Radio Australia)---Papua New Guinea's Cabinet has finally approved the text of constitutional amendments to give Bougainville greater autonomy and an eventual referendum on independence.

Radio Australia correspondent Sean Dorney reports.

"Papua New Guinea's constitution can only be amended by the Parliament and it takes two votes of at least two-thirds majority two months apart.

"Yesterday's gazettal of the constitutional amendments to allow Bougainville to basically government itself and take a future vote on independence, means the first vote can now be taken by the PNG parliament in 30 days time. That will be December 13th.

"It raises the question of whether there will be enough members still in Port Moresby so close to Christmas.

"PNG's Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta says that to save time the debate on Bougainville will begin when Parliament resumes next week.

"Sir Mekere claims his government has now met all its commitments under the Bougainville peace agreement and the next stage is up to the Bougainvillians disposing of their weapons.

"Sean Dorney, Radio Australia, Port Moresby."

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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