SOLOMONS SEEK EXTENSION OF PNG FINANCIAL AID

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PNG government indicates it will do so

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, July 28, 2009) – Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua says there are talks with the Papua New Guinea Government to settle the claims of Choiseul and Shortland people.

Dr Sikua revealed this when asked by MP for North West Choiseul, Clement Kengava. He said the assistance given by Papua New Guinea Government since the late Ulufaálu Government in 1997 has come to an end.

The assistance was used to support local students studying in PNG and building a chancery in Port Moresby. However, he said following his discussion with PNG Prime Minister Michael Somare in Port Villa during the Special Leaders Summit, he has agreed to extend it.

"I ask for around $40-50 million kina [US$16 - US$20 million] that will cover projects of both provinces. This is because of what I have on the record," he said. Dr Sikua said it is up to our officials to fast track this work.

Previuosly, the people of North West Choiseul decided to push for secession if the Government fails meet their claims.

These claims were related to the suffering they endured during the 9-year Bougainville crisis. They are claiming compensation for loss of relatives and properties during the conflict.

Minister for Peace and Reconciliation, Sam Iduri said Choiseul Provincial Government and the Ministry have agreed to give projects to those affected.

He said his Ministry is still waiting for feedback from Choiseul Provincial Assembly on the matter.

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