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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 4 March 1999
Kia ora, we just received the following two articles which appeared in the Australian press which will be of interest to those of you who are following the Bougainville peace process.
Postcourier - 4 March 99
NZ-PNG army plan a `risk to peace talks'
A NEWLY-chosen leader in Bougainville has warned of a threat to peace on the troubled island from a reconstruction program.
James Tanis, acting co-chairman of the Bougainville Constituent Assembly, said the proposed reconstruction deal between the defence forces of PNG and New Zealand was ``in grave danger'' of blocking the peace process.
Talks were now at a ``most sensitive stage'', he said.
Among the issues being discussed were the withdrawal of the PNGDF and the police riot squad from Bougainville; the disposal of arms by the BRA and the Resistance forces, and the election of the Bougainville Reconcilitation Government.
But deployment of the joint NZ Army and PNGDF reconstruction team was ``a new prickly and sensitive issue'' that negotiators could do without while they were trying to implement the Lincoln agreement, Mr Tanis said from Arawa.
``Any matters to enhance the peace process must go through the Peace Process Consultative Committee and I cannot recollect this `joint NZ and PNG army reconstruction proposal' going through this process,'' he said.
``The BRA now has a disposal of arms program that will be put through the PPCC; where we also expect the PNGDF to do the same by submitting their withdrawal proposal in the second week of March.
``I am appealing directly to the New Zealand Government and Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr Don McKinnon to understand our position and our concern for this peace process in not allowing and creating another unnecessary impediment (of its own making) to be in the way of the Bougainville peace process at this most sensitive stage.''
New Bougainville law approved
CABINET has approved a Bougainville Provincial Law to ensure existing provincial laws comply with the new Organic Law on Provincial Governments and the Local Level Government.
Governor-General Sir Silas Atopare has approved and gazetted the law.
The National Executive Council has directed Minister for State Sam Akoitai to ensure existing provincial laws in Bougainville are reviewed to ensure continuity and consistency with the Organic Law.
Mr Akoitai will also make sure long term arrangements for the Bougainville Government are subject to separate consultations between the parties involved in the peace process.
Provincial and Local Government Affairs Minister Dibara Yagabo will table the provincial law during the July session and will move a resolution to confirm it within seven sitting days.
Mr Akoitai said the National Government remained committed to the peace process.
He also assured the people of Bougainville and the parties involved in the peace process that every effort would be made to safeguard the peace achieved, as well as a lasting solution.
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