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Action Alert - Bougainville - update
Peace Movement AotearoaPO Box 9314, Wellington. Tel (04) 382 8129, fax (04) 382 8173, firstname.lastname@example.org
Issued 1 June 1999
Kia ora, here follows the press release from President Joseph Kabui following the elections for the Bougainville People's Congress: PRESS RELEASE- 29th May, 1999
SECCESSIONIST GOVERNMENT WINS PEOPLES' MANDATE IN BOUGAINVILLE GOVERNMENT LEADERSHIP ELECTIONS.
Election results for the office bearers in the newly instituted Bougainville Peoples' Congress have added new pressure to the forthcoming negotiations with PNG over the future political status of Bougainville.
Newly elected President Joseph Kabui, former vice- president of the Bougainville Interim Government, whose platform is independence for Bougainville, was elected with a 88.5% majority and both vice presidents, James Tanis and Thomas Anis, are also independence campaigners. James Tanis is the former political adviser to Fransis Ona, and Thomas Anis the former deputy Premier of the Bougainville Transitional Government.
President Kabui won the last fully elected premiership in 1988 by a similar margin. This represents a renewal of his mandate to speak for all Bougainville.
"The negotiations are going to be tough, "said President Kabui in Arawa. "But I think that we have all had a chance to stand back and look at the situation over these past two years of peace. I believe that PNG can see that there is no turning back from the aspirations of the Bougainville people and I am confident that we will reach an early understanding on the way forward to lasting peace.
"Independence is not a new debate between Bougainville and PNG. Its cause, however, was colonialism, not the people of PNG. It has now been written in blood and we must address it directly and honestly. It is still a long road ahead.
I am honoured by the trust that my people have placed in me in selecting me to lead this historical government into negotiations with PNG on the question that has been at the bottom of these past twelve years of conflict and division. The people have spoken out in very clear terms about what it is that they want us to agree on with PNG. We will be looking to a phased in period of self-government, leading to full independence, underpinned by a lasting friendship and brotherhood with PNG.
We ask that PNG and the international community appreciate that there can be no turning back in the Bougainville situation. To turn around would leave us facing what is best left behind us, years of conflict and suffering We are peaceful people but our people have made it clear what they expect from their leaders and we cannot betray them as our leaders did in 1974. This time there is too much at stake."
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