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UNITED NATIONS, New York (April 2, 2002 – The National/AAP)---United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has warmly congratulated Papua New Guinea's Parliament for approving the peace agreement which concludes the decade-long conflict on Bougainville.

"The vote shows that the Government is determined to secure a lasting peace," said a statement issued by the office of the spokesman for the UN secretary general.

The statement praised the UN office in Bougainville, and the role that it played in helping to shape the agreement signed last August.

The secretary general "calls upon the Bougainville parties to redouble their efforts aimed at the removal of weapons from Bougainville communities and to begin the process of post-conflict rehabilitation and peace building," the statement said.

The law only comes into effect when United Nations Mission observer Noel Sinclair of Guyana judges that the disposal of weapons is satisfactory.

Meanwhile, Australia also applauded the passing of the Bougainville peace agreement, allowing the war-ravaged island a future vote on independence.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer congratulated the PNG Parliament for making the decision to support the legislation.

Mr. Downer said it was a tribute to negotiations led by Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta and Minister for Bougainville Affairs Sir Moi Avei, as well as Joseph Kabui and John Momis on the Bougainvillean side.

"It is also a tribute to the contribution made by the leadership of the ex-combatants on Bougainville in handing an unprecedented number of weapons over in the past three months," he said.

"I also would like to pay tribute to the men and women of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Vanuatu who have served with the Peace Monitoring Group and who have played an important role over the last four-and-a-half years in building the confidence of Bougainvilleans to take the steps necessary to secure peace."

He said all those involved in the peace process can now focus on containing weapons and drafting a constitution for Bougainville.

"I urge everyone to show the same commitment and determination to this stage of the peace process that they have shown over the past 12 months," Mr. Downer said.

"The task is not yet complete and Australia will continue its efforts to help bring lasting peace, stability and development to Bougainville."

The war on Bougainville, which led to a declaration of independence by guerrilla leader Francis Ona in 1993, caused as many as 20,000 deaths through clashes between rebels and the PNG army, internal civil war, starvation and disease.



PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 2, 2002 – The National)---The National Executive Council (NEC) has appointed Simon Pentanu as the new Administrator for Bougainville.

Public Service Minister Philemon Embel made the announcement in Parliament last week following a question from Bougainville Governor John Momis as to when they would have an administrator.

Mr. Pentanu was the former Chief Ombudsman until his term expired last year.

He was the Clerk of the National Parliament before he joined the Ombudsman Commission.

Mr. Pentanu's appointment as the administrator was made two weeks ago.

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" target="_blank">(VIKKI@law.uts.edu.au

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