PARLIAMENT TO VOTE FOR BOUGAINVILLE BILL

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (March 25, 2002 – Post-Courier)---Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta, said yesterday the government will meet its commitment and vote for the bills to give legal effect to the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

Parliament will sit to deal with the Bougainville vote and other outstanding issues for the last time this week.

"We will continue working on a bipartisan basis for lasting peace by peaceful means," Sir Mekere said.

"The Bougainville Peace Agreement and the implementing bills for the proposed constitutional amendment and Organic Law on Peace Building in Bougainville are among the most important means of achieving this important national objective."

He said that leaders, ex-combatants and communities around Bougainville were making good progress in promoting public awareness and practical implementation of weapons disposal.

"The challenge now remains for them to keep working on after next week’s vote so that Bougainville becomes truly free of the threat of the gun and elections for the autonomous Bougainville government can be held."

Sir Mekere said the Minister for Bougainville Affairs Sir Moi Avei had reported to last Friday’s Cabinet meeting in Madang that the number of weapons put away by late last week was more than 500, including about 80 high-powered, factory-made guns.

"More and more communities in areas around Bougainville are joining in practical implementation and a number of them have moved from stage 1 (when guns are placed in locked and sealed trunks) to stage 2 (when the trunks are placed in more, central, double-locked, steel containers — under the supervision and with one of the keys held by the United Nations Observer Mission in Bougainville)."

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

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