KOREAN FIRM OFFERS PHONE SERVICE FOR MINE PERMIT

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Feb. 12, 2008) - A South Korean company has proposed to set up a telecommunications company for the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG).

Korean Telco Airlink Co. Ltd has offered to let the ABG own the telecommunications company to be set up on the condition that the Bougainville Government grant them a mining license.

President Joseph Kabui would not comment on the matter but agreed the issue was very sensitive. He referred this reporter to the administrative officers to provide the information when the paper asked for comment. Officials dealing with the issue said that the Bougainville Executive Council met yesterday to consider the Memorandum of Understanding relating to the company’s offer.

They said this was not an unexpected proposal, however, confirmed the Koreans had been in Buka since last week to negotiate the deal.

They said after senior officials from the Bougainville administration and representatives from the Korean company met last week to prepare a submission on the proposed agreement, both parties were happy. Official papers will be signed tomorrow as more talks are progressing on the matter.

The ABG said it was a good deal but have yet to make a final decision on the telecommunication proposal. It is understood a meeting is scheduled for tomorrow where the signing of the deal is due to be made.

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