FORMER PNG PRIME MINISTER SKATE DIES

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MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Jan. 4) – Former Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir William Skate, has died in an Australian hospital, aged 52.

Sir William, popularly known as Bill Skate, suffered a heart attack in Port Moresby last week and was airlifted to the eastern Australian city of Brisbane on Saturday.

Bill Skate grew up in a poor Port Moresby settlement and was prime minister from 1997 to 1999.

His term as prime minister was cut short when he was ousted while PNG was facing an economic crisis.

Bill Skate's aide, Susuve Laumea says Sir William will be remembered fondly by the people of Bougainville.

One of his biggest legacies was the brokering of the Bougainville peace accord he laid the foundations for that for eventual peace on Bougainville. He's very well respected by the Bougainvilleans for what he had done for eventual peace to come to Bougainville.

January 4, 2006

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

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