PNG-SOLOMONS BORDER TALKS NEEDED, MEETING AGREES

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (March 6, 2002 - Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation/PINA Nius Online)---Solomon Islands officials and former Bougainville Revolutionary Army Commander Sam Kauona have agreed on the need to follow-up on the Papua New Guinea-Solomon Islands Border Agreement.

At their meeting in the Solomon Islands Western Province capital of Gizo, they agreed that there is need for future talks on the movement of people across the sea border between Bougainville and the Solomon Islands.

The government's National Policy Chief, Sir George Lepping, said the government is taking a bi-partisan approach in dealing with problems resulting from the recent killing in Western Province of two part-time police officers.

The men -- one Malaitan and one part-Malaitan -- were alleged to have been shot by Bougainvilleans who are staying in the province.

Many Bougainvilleans crossed into the nearby Western Province islands during the secessionist war between the Bougainville Revolutionary Army and Papua New Guinea military forces. Several of them have been involved in a number of incidents involving guns.

Sir George said the main messages from the Solomon Islands government at meetings held in Gizo, Noro and Munda are:

Sir George stressed that the purpose of holding those meetings was to see that such incidents do not happen again.

He said while compensation and reconciliation have been made among families and at the community levels, reconciliation at the provincial government level also needs to be facilitated.

Member of Parliament for West New Georgia and Vonavona Peter Boyers represented the Opposition at the meeting.

For additional reports from the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation.

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