PNG GOVERNMENT SEEKS UN SUPPORT IN BOUGAINVILLE

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 31) – The Papua New Guinea government has requested support from the United Nations for PNG’s sovereignty over Bougainville as warlord Francis Oda continues to promote his "Republic of Me’ekamu" in the province.

Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Sir Rabbie Namaliu signed a letter seeking a statement from the U.N. making it clear that the organization recognizes the Papua New Guinea as the sole legitimate government of Bougainville, and that the "Republic of Me’ekamui" and "Royal Kingdom of Papala" do not have the international community’s recognition or support.

The letter was delivered to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s office on Friday by PNG’s Ambassador to the United Nations Robert Aisi in New York. The letter dated May 26 thanked the United Nations for their involvement in the Bougainville peace process that has now resulted in the current Bougainville polls reaching the counting stage and an inaugural House of Representatives meeting planned to be on June 15-16.

"As Your Excellency will recall, a small minority of Bougainvilleans under the leadership of Francis Ona continues to remain outside the Bougainville peace process," Sir Rabbie said. "Many of them have, in fact, enrolled for the election and voted, and some have even nominated as candidates. However, an increasing volume of propaganda issued by or on behalf of Francis Ona and his remaining supporters, both printed and broadcast by radio and television, contains the claim that the election and the establishment of the autonomous Bougainville government are unnecessary because Bougainville, under the self-styled ‘Government of Me’ekamui’ is already independent.

"This claim is sometimes advanced with the further assertion that the independence of Bougainville / Me'ekamui is recognised by the United Nations.

"Such statements are, obviously, entirely baseless. The Independent State of Papua New Guinea is the sole legitimate source of governmental authority in Papua New Guinea. Given that most of the people in this ‘No-Go Zone’ area around Panguna are cut off from the rest of Bougainville, PNG and the outside world, PNG Government was concerned that such claims … have a capacity to influence people without alternative sources of information.

"This is why my Government requests Your Excellency to assist in promoting public awareness of the truth, hence the prospects for maintaining social harmony and peace, by issuing a public statement making clear that the United Nations recognises the Independent State of Papua New Guinea as the sole legitimate government of Papua New Guinea, and that Me'ekamui, Papala, etc. do not receive the international community’s recognition or support."

June 1, 2005

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier: www.postcourier.com.pg/

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