Bougainville President Defends Use Of Foreign Advisors

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Momis: Advisors ‘boost capacity’ they do not ‘make policy’

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, June 4, 2014) – The Autonomous Bougainville Government has come under fire in recent weeks in the government’s engagement of foreign advisers on Bougainville.

But ABG President John Momis told the Bougainville House of Representatives yesterday that the need for foreigners is in itself justifiable as Bougainville needs outside help to boost the ABG’s capacity in areas that it lacks.

"Under the Peace Agreement the National Government is obliged to do its best to obtain foreign aid to support restoration and development in Bougainville, and to facilitate the ABG’s participation in managing aid projects," President Momis said.

He said the ABG is allowed to obtain foreign aid through its own efforts which is again stipulated in the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

The Bougainville Peace Agreement also goes on to say that the National Government is required to approve foreign aid secured by the Autonomous Bougainville Government, which does not reduce the value of aid already available to Papua New Guinea – and subject to overriding PNG foreign policy considerations, Mr Momis said.

"You can therefore understand that the Bougainville Executive Council and I would be negligent if we did not seek to use the powers and authority given under the Peace Agreement for the betterment of Bougainville," he told the Bougainville House of Representatives," Mr Momis said.

"All advisers and volunteers and other experts who are invited to Bougainville come here on our terms, they work for the ABG and work to our instruction.

"Contrary to what some are saying advisers do not make the policies of this government."

He said the administration and the Bougainville Executive Council expects to see options developed for policies and may sometimes need outside views and inputs.

President Momis reiterated that Bougainvilleans have very strong views about Bougainville and its future.

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