BOUGAINVILLE PEACE A STEP TOWARDS INDEPENDENCE

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Referendum to be held after 2015

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nov. 14, 2011) – The president of the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville says he’s delighted a ceasefire agreement will be signed with former militant groups in Konnou in the south of the main island late next month.

John Momis says former rebel leader, Damian Koike, has agreed to end the destructive violence that has kept government services out of the region for years.

He says an end to the fighting is critical if the province is to hold a referendum on possible independence from PNG after 2015, as laid out in the peace agreement.

"The people now realize that unless we now resolve our small differences and stop the fighting, nobody wins. We have made a lot of effort to explain to them that one of the conditions is to meet international standards for the people of Bougainville to qualify to have a referendum, we have to have good governance, we have to respect our government," Momis says.

[PIR editor’s note: Bougainville President John Momis envisions a "new order" that will develop self-reliance, economic structure, a fair sociopolitical system and international partnerships, specifically with China, through the Bougainville Peace Agreement to be signed in December.]

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