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Bougainville Updates

This page carries the July 2000 Bougainville news updates as received. You can find previous updates in the archive.

If you don't know what all this is about, Bougainville - The long struggle for freedom tells the whole story of the colonialisation, successful revolution and continuing war being waged against the life of Bougainville by western governments on behalf of corporations.

BOOK: Building Peace in Bougainville - Details & Order Form

Index: July 2000


Kabui a remarkable Bougainville leader

I REFER to your Editorial article "Bougainville peace must be planned" (The National, July 10) which attacked Mr Kabui with such disturbing words as "bellicose" etc and regard it is highly inflammatory to the peace process.

Your article is tongue in cheek which aims to destroy the credibility of Bougainville in the eyes of Papua New Guinea readers. It is a destructive article that cynically attacks not only Bougainville and its people but also the peace process.

To attribute Kabui's statement "to a fanatical few, who have wreaked havoc" again plays the game of "divide and conquer" which the Papua New Guinea Government blatantly used in escalating the conflict a decade ago.

Such attitudes expressed in this editorial article shows that the lessons of peace-making have not been learnt very well.

The Bougainville People's Congress president Joseph Kabui is expressing the "truth" so when will PNG have the ears to listen?

Bougainville has been "workshopping" its future under a 10 year blockade.

Since the re-unification of Bougainville through the Bougainville Peoples Congress, they have been sharing this vision and re-building their future through engaged or so-called "workshopping" since the Burnham Declaration, July 1997, in Christchurch, New Zealand.

PNG's so-called "workshopping" in Port Moresby is far-removed from the scene and irrelevant to the technical officers and leaders who have been trotting to Port Moresby trying to maintain the peace process. They have expressed genuine frustration.

Your writer claims to have the "objective eye" and yet he/she writes with emotionally charged and derogatory words, that discredit Bougainville and its president in particular.

I choose to disagree with the statement of the writer that the PNG Government and its predecessor have gone to "extra-ordinary lengths to accommodate the demands put forward by rebels and its resistance leaders on Bougainville".

The truth is PNG had gone to extra-ordinary lengths to destroy Bougainville (and obviously the writer was not on the receiving end of the longest war/conflict in the Pacific against a blockade).

It is not an extra-ordinary expectation for Bougainville to want its freedom.

The negotiated commitment must be addressed. The writer assumes Papua New Guinea to be altruistic. It is not. PNG politicians have their own agenda in back tracking to undermine previous agreements on a referendum. This is why Mr Kabui is rightfully making a stand.

The "wonderful re-construction" on Bougainville is remarkable testimony to the Bougainville people themselves. What PNG and the general public have now witnessed has been due to the efforts and sweat of the people of Bougainville themselves.

This is just with "crumbs" from Port Moresby and 99 per cent commitment and sweat from Bougainvilleans themselves (so-called promised budget/money never seems to be arrive in Bougainville).

Yes, Mr Kabui is truly a firm, stable, dedicated, Christian and an incorruptible "seasoned negotiator" who has outlasted all Papua New Guinea Prime Ministers from Sir Michael Somare to Sir Mekere Morauta.

I am sure this obviously speaks loud and clear in itself. The Bougainville people are blessed and must be proud to have a leader such as Mr Kabui and the Deputies on Bougainville.

Ms Vikki John, Bougainville Freedom Movement, Sydney, Australia

Source: The National, 31 July 00

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Firm stance on autonomy call

BOUGAINVILLE will settle for a firm agreement on highest autonomy and referendum on independence against a band aid solution to the conflict, Interim Dep-uty Governor Gerard Sinato said.

He expects Papua New Guinea and Bougainville to sign an agreement that will pave the way for a lasting solution in September. Mr Sinato said the Bougainville leaders and the National Gov-ernment should not be misled by the peace on Bougainville that has existed since the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement in 1998. He said: "In reality the people are waiting for an answer from the National Govern-ment on autonomy and referendum. "Their waiting sho-uld not be taken for granted that they are satisfied with the peace process. "Since the Loloata Understanding and Gateway Communiqué negotiations have progressed very slowly."

Weapons disposal plans THE weapons disposal exercise on Bougainville will take effect after plans are developed and finalised as agreed by the Peace Process Consultative Committee (PPCC). At its first meeting held this week, the committee agreed to proceed with the development of plans for weapons disposal on Bougainville as outlined in the Lincoln Agreement. It also heard a report from the United Nations Observer Mission on Bougainville (UNOMB) director and PPCC chairman Ambassador Noel Sinclair. He outlined plans and principles based on consultations with all parties to allow for the process to continue. Mr Sinclair said the process should be assisted by a fund with an initial donation of K200,000 from the National Government. He suggested other governments could also contribute. The plans to be developed and agreed by all parties will have access to the fund to facilitate planning and disposal of weapons.

All parties agreed the plans be developed urgently. Mr Sinclair said: "The report by the PMG commander gives us clear evidence of the danger that the continued uncontrolled presence of weapons on Bouga-inville constitutes for society and for the peace process. It is essential that while we wait for the final resolution of the political issues and a settlement of the question of the manner in which weapons will be disposed off, serious consideration be given to a process of weapons control on Bouga-inville." Meanwhile, the National Government yesterday commended the PPCC and assured that they were firmly committed to helping with the issue. In a statement, Assistant Police Commissioner Fred Sheekiot said he hoped the participants made use of the committee meeting and make real progress towards reaching agreement on the main issue on the agenda - the finalisation of practical plans for weapons disposal. Mr Sheekiot said the size, seniority and range of

government agencies represented in his delegation showed that the National Government took the meeting seriously. He said: "We are ready to get down to detailed work on developing practical plans for weapons disposal. We look to our partners on Bougainville to work with us in making the progress, which our leaders expect and which is the right of people on the ground. "Weapons disposal is not just an item on the PPCC's agenda, it is, as the Lincoln and Ceasefire Agreements recognise, integral to peace building overall."

Concerted effort needed for peace THE future of the peace process and relations between Boug-ainville and the rest of Papua New Guinea dep-ended on how well the two can work together both now and in the future to secure lasting peace, Bougainville Af-fairs Minister Sir Mic-hael Somare said. In his ministerial statement delivered in Parliament recently,he outlined various issues. These included the signing of the Loloata Understanding, the Lin-coln Agreement, the Gateway Communiqué, the executive workshop on Bougainville autonomy and the recent technical officers meeting. Sir Michael urged leaders on all sides to keep consulting and co-operating for the sake of securing lasting peace by peaceful means. He said: "The Bougainville peace process is at a critical point with difficult and divisive issues awaiting resolution. "While progress has sometimes been slower than some of us might have preferred, the talks which led to the Loloata Understanding and following meetings have been productive." Sir Michael called on all partners in Bougainville to ensure the kind of atmosphere which would identify options to help bridge outstanding differences. The move would further develop common understandings between both parties. On the same note, he called on the National Government and its members to remain firmly committed to the peace process. He said progress will be made if those outside the process joined in.

Source: Postcourier - 28 July 00

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'Government should be serious on Bougainville'

By ISAAC NICHOLAS

TWO Bougainville leaders spearheading negotiations with the National Government have warned of renewed violence if the Government does not seriously address the Bougainville issue.

Central Bougainville MP Sam Akoitai and Bougainville People's Congress President Joseph Kabui sounded the warning on the eve of a peace ceremony between Wakunai, Tinputz and Kieta people on Friday.

Speaking to reporters at his Tagalau village high up in the mountains of Central Bougainville, Mr Akoitai said that the National Government was not serious about the Bougainville peace process.

Mr Akoitai said he had invited the National Government and the Bougainville Interim Government to attend the reconciliation ceremony at Wakunai but both governments refused to attend.

"The peace process can be destroyed", Mr Akoitai warned. "The National Government should not take advantage of the reconciliation process and plan another thing. If we don't address the political issue, the peace process can be destroyed."

Mr Akoitai said the National Government should come up with the best option to counter the issue of Independence.

Mr Kabui said, "Why is Francis Ona still hiding, if I had remained in hiding, there would still be bloodshed. I responded to public demands to come out."

He said the government of Bougainville depended on two demands - greater autonomy and referendum.

Mr Kabui said there have been arguments that other provinces would also be demanding autonomy, but such arguments do not take into account that 15,000 Bougainvilleans have been killed.

"There have been arguments that what Bougainville gets, other provinces will get, well other provinces did not lose 15,000 people. The issue of referendum is very vital to the peace process, if the Government brushes aside that question, it will tantamount to sending Kabui back into the bush."

He said greater autonomy should be given where all powers and functions come under the provincial government, except for Defence and Foreign Affairs.

"The National Government is taking for granted the peace process, it would be foolish for the government to say peace is restored with the reconciliation process."

Mr Kabui said, "Peace on Bougainville is conditional along the lines that the people on the ground carry out reconciliation ceremonies on the understanding that political leaders are negotiating the two issues (autonomy and referendum), they want to get the best out of those two."

Mr Akoitai warned that if the National Government was not careful, the youths could be driven off.

"My problem has been to get Kabui out (to the negotiating table), and it took 10 years to get him out, I don't want another 10 years to try to get him out again. The opportunity is here."

Mr Kabui said the Government should make a clear decisive response and not hide, it should come out with something that will work.

"We want some answer by September, there is still time for them to come down and address the two issues," he said.

Source: The National - 25 July 00

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Beware of derailing peace: BRA

A LEADER of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army has warned that the island's peace was in danger of being derailed more than ever.

This was brought on by government leaders and officials' who made decisions without considering consensus of all major parties to the Bougainville peace process. BRA chairman David Sisito said there were those who made unilateral decisions and cited some examples to make his point. Two examples were on the lifting of the liquor ban and the decisions made by certain leaders on how the census is to be conducted in Bougainville. He said: "There are numerous other instances where the concerns of the hard-liners have not been taken seriously by leaders including senior officials. "All the major factions are involved in the Bougainville peace and I find it extremely disturbing to see that certain leaders and officials are conducting their roles and responsibilities as if there are no guidelines agreed to and established for consultation between use." In a meeting with officials from the Australian High Com-mission yesterday, Mr Sisito made it clear that the hard-liners did not support the census, as they had not been briefed of the operation program adequately. "As major stakeholders in (the) Bougainville peace process, we have a right to be heard, on how the affairs of Bougainville need to be managed. "The same also applies to the lifting of the liquor ban on Bougainville," he said. Mr Sisito warned that if this continued the hard-liners would simply pull out of the Bougain-ville Peace Process. "If our interests and the interests of those who share our views are not going to be accommodated what is the point in remaining with the current peace process," he added.

Source: Postcourier - 14 July 00

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Kabui a truly remarkable Leader for Bougainville.

BOUGAINVILLE

Dear Sir/Madam,

I refer to your Editorial article " Bougainville peace must be planned "(The National - 10 July 00) which attacked Mr. Kabui with such disturbing words as "bellicose", etc and regard it is highly inflammatory to the Peace Process.

Your article is 'tongue in cheek' which aims to destroy the credibility of Bougainville in the eyes of Papua New Guinea readers. It is a destructive article that cynically attacks not only Bougainville and its people but also the Peace Process. To attribute Kabui's statement "to a fanatical few, who have wreaked havoc" again plays the game of 'divide and conquer'; which the Papua New Guinea Government blatantly used in escalating the conflict a decade ago.

Such attitudes expressed in this editorial article shows that the lessons of peace- making have not been learnt very well. The President of the Bougainville Peoples Congress, Mr. Joseph Kabui is expressing the "truth", so when will PNG have the ears to listen?

Bougainville has been "workshopping" its future under a 10 year blockade. Since the re-unification of Bougainville through the Bougainville Peoples Congress, they have been sharing this vision and re-building their future through engaged or so-called "workshopping" since the Burnham Declaration, July 1997, Christchurch New Zealand.

PNG's so-called "workshopping" in Port Moresby is far-removed from the scene and irrelevant to the Technical Officers and Leaders who have been trotting to Port Moresby trying to maintain the Peace Process. They have expressed genuine frustration. Your writer claims to have the "objective eye", and yet he/she writes with emotionally charged and derogatory words, that discredit Bougainville and its President in particular.

I choose to disagree with the statement of the writer that the PNG Government and its predecessor have gone to "extra-ordinary lengths to accommodate the demands put forward by rebels and its resistance leaders on Bougainville". The truth is PNG had gone to extra-ordinary lengths to destroy Bougainville (and obviously the writer was not on the receiving end of the longest war/conflict in the Pacific against a blockade).

It is not an extra-ordinary expectation for Bougainville to want its freedom. The negotiated commitment must be addressed. The writer assumes Papua New Guinea to be altruistic. It is not. PNG politicians have their own agenda in back tracking to undermine previous agreements on a referendum. This is why President Kabui is rightfully making a stand.

The "wonderful re-construction" on Bougainville is remarkable testimony to the Bougainville people themselves. What PNG and the general public have now witnessed has been due to the efforts and sweat of the people of Bougainville themselves. This is just with "crumbs" from Port Moresby and ninety-nine per cent commitment and sweat from Bougainvilleans themselves (so-called promised budget/money never seems to be arrive in Bougainville).

Yes, Mr. Kabui is truly a firm, stable, dedicated, Christian and an incorruptible "seasoned negotiator", who has outlasted all Papua New Guinea Prime Ministers (5 PMs since PNG Independence) from Sir Michael Somare to Sir Mekere Morauta.

I am sure this obviously speaks loud and clear in itself. The Bougainville people are blessed and must be proud to have a leader such as Mr.Kabui and the Deputies on Bougainville.

Yours sincerely, Ms Vikki John National Co-ordinator Bougainville Freedom Movement (BFM) PO Box 134, Erskineville. NSW 2043 Australia Ph: +61-2-9558.2730

Source: To: The Editor, The National (PNG) 13 July, 2000

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Mutiny officers receive lengthy jail sentences

Port Moresby: Outstanding charges of sedition against former Papua New Guinea Defence Force commander Gerry Singirok took on a new shade of seriousness yesterday when three of his former colleagues were jailed for mutiny.

The police prosecutor's office could not say yesterday when the former brigadier-general would face his charges. In May, a civil Leadership Tribunal found him guilty of accepting about $A50,000 in bribes from a British equipment supplier and barred him from public office for two years.

In the National Court here on Monday, Captain Bola Renagi was jailed for almost eight years, while Captain Belden Namah and Lieutenant Linus Osaba were each sentenced to almost seven years.

They had led an army Special Forces Unit which illegally took control of the PNG Defence Force operations centre at Murray Barracks in Port Moresby on July 28, 1997. The unit detained army commanders who took over from brigadier-general Singirok, who had by then been dismissed from command.

After the verdict was handed down by Justice Timothy Hinchcliffe - who was threatened following their guilty verdicts on May 31 - the trio were whisked away in a heavily armed police vehicle to Bomana Prison while the police helicopter circled overhead.

The army revolt in March 1997 led to the downfall of the government of prime minister Sir Julius Chan and the ousting of foreign mercenaries from the London- and South Africa-based company Sandline, brought in to put down the secession war on PNG's Bougainville island.

In handing down the sentences, Justice Hinchcliffe warned that judges were not swayed or influenced by threats or abuse. Referring to letters he had received, he said they had not influenced him in his decision-making.

Last week, it was disclosed that Captain Namah filed civil charges of defamation against the current acting PNG Defence Force commander, Brigadier-General Carl Malpo, who he alleged had accused him of going to the National Court to threaten Justice Hinchcliffe.

Australian Associated Press

Source: Sydney Morning Herald - 12 July 00 World News

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Kabui fires warning as 2000 Census kicks off

Bougainville a 'no-go' zone, say rebels

FORMER Bougainville rebels and resistance members would disrupt the 2000 Census if the Government continued to frustrate calls for a referendum and highest autonomy, Joseph Kabui has warned.

The warning from the Bougainville People's Congress president came as the national head count began yesterday.

Officials said the 2000 national census, which is scheduled to run for seven days, got off to a slow start.

As of yesterday, the National Statistical Office was still waiting for K10.9 million it claims was coming from the National Government.

Claiming to speak on behalf of rebel commander Ishmael Toroama and other hardliners, Mr Kabui said the decision to stop census work on parts of mainland Bougainville was a result of several meetings held at the end of last week in which the ex-combatants expressed their frustration and dissatisfaction at the National Government's handling of the issue.

"There will be no census officers travelling into certain areas of mainland Bougainville. This is the decision by the ex-combatants and I respect it. Unless something positive comes from the National Government over the next few days this is the decision," said Mr Kabui.

He said he was supporting this move because the National Government was again using the so-called 'workshops' to determine the future of Bougainville.

"As I have been saying all along, forget about the workshops and what not. The situation on Bougainville does not require workshops to solve. These workshops are a waste of time if they are not going to address and contribute to solving the real issues of Bougainville," he said.

Areas from Aropa to Kongara in Central Bougainville, Motun/Huyono and Mukakuru areas in Siwai, South Bougainville are just some of the many areas including Francis Ona's no-go-zone that census officers will be barred from.

"These are early signs of what I am afraid of, and it is necessary that genuine steps are taken to avoid any more bloodshed. What was agreed upon at the Gateway meeting must be honoured by the National Government," said Mr Kabui from Nagovis, South Bougainville.

"I am also calling on the technocrats and government officers from both sides to put together something before September as agreed by all of us."

Clause five of the Gateway Communique states that the parties realise that they need further time to negotiate details of the agreement. They agreed to begin further exchanges concerning all the issues no later than the first week of July and to continue until the final agreement is concluded, no later than mid-September 2000.

Mr Kabui said he would not attend further talks with the National Government until it is genuine and clear about the issue of referendum and autonomy.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta said yesterday he was not aware of funding problems faced by census officials.

He was surprised when told the NSO was still waiting for K10.9 million to carry out and complete the census.

Sir Mekere said the Government will have to find the money somewhere to fund the shortfall.

Yesterday, Census director John Kalamoroh said his office was asking the government for K6.1 million and AusAID for K4.8 million.

Mr Kalamoroh said the money would be used to pay for security for officials during the census, transportation, and wages for census workers.

He said the census got off to a quiet start yesterday because it was Sunday, but workers have already begun house to house counting.

Source: The National - 10 July 00

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Govt praised on B'ville

A BOUGAINVILLE leader has praised the national Government decision to involve its top bureaucrats in defining the Bougainville people's aspirations.

Member of the Bougainville People's Congress David Sisito said the Government's efforts to seek the people's views on autonomy and referendum for the island was a step in the right direction. Mr Sisito however warned that if the Government did not show any follow-up commitment on their officers input, then there would be no point in pursuing negotiations. "What we want to see happen is for the Government and its bureaucrats to appreciate the hard work and the amo-unt of preparatory work that Bougainville had put into addressing autonomy and referendum for Bougainville. "So far, the Government has reacted by asking important questions on the issues.Time for question time is over. "What we want to see is the PNG Government's pro-activeness in putting together a detailed response. "More importantly, the leaders of Bougainville want the Government to table in the fifth round of political negotiations its official position that is closer to Bougainville's proposal for a 'Special Status' Agreement.

Source: Postcourier - 7 July, 00

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Agreement on referendum would be a start: Siau

IF THE Government rejects a referendum, then it is rejecting Joseph Kabui's Bougainville People's Congress (BPC) and Francis Ona's Bougainville separatist rebel movement, Bougainville provincial administrator John Siau told chief government advisors at the Bougainville autonomy workshop yesterday.

He said the Bougainville Negotiating Position calls for the leaders from the Government and Bougainville to agree in principle, first on a referendum and the highest possible form of autonomy, and then work out the details and parameters.

Mr Siau said it is important that the leaders got down to signing in principle an agreement on a referendum and set a date for it to take place in order to satisfy all parties concerned.

"We cannot move forward without satisfying the various parties" Mr Siau said.

"As we understand Francis Ona and his Republic of Mekamui has been independent since May 17, 1990. "We can only convince him to take part in the negotiations if there is a signed agreement with (Mr Ona's) government on whether it supports independence for Bougainville or not. In the meantime, he maintains his own Mekamui assembly, his own Mekamui defence force," Mr Siau said.

However, Bougainville Restoration and Peace Office director Bill Dihm said the Government will not rush into deciding "yes" or "no" on the issue of autonomy or referendum.

He said the Government prefers that all Bougainville parties present their views as fully as possible and the Government will at the right time make a decision.

He said the Government has established a ministerial committee on Bougainville in March, which reports to Cabinet the latest proposals on Bougainville.

Source: The National - 5 July 00

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Bougainville crisis a learning experience: Somare

BOUGAINVILLE Affairs Minister Sir Michael Somare said yesterday that the Bougainville crisis was a learning experience.

He said the Government must be careful in future and try to avoid similar problems.

Opening the in-house executive workshop on the Bougainville Autonomy Proposals in Port Moresby, Sir Michael, who is also Mining Minister, said the Bougainville crisis resulted from some of the decisions that leaders, including himself, have made.

He said: "What has happened in Bougainville is an example of the result of some of the decisions we made then, only to find that they had resulted into problems. "Last week I visited Porgera, where there were land problems and compensation demands. "We have to be careful to avoid the kind of problem that has happened on Bougainville."

He cited the Government's many failed attempts to bring an end to the crisis, which it finally did in 1997 when the then Prime Minister Bill Skate led talks towards the signing of the Burnham truce.

"We have come a long way since 1997. When I was made Bougainville Affairs Minister I went out to the Bougainville leaders, promoting the need to be united, and presenting their agenda. "Two key issues they came up with: the referendum and autonomy. But, and I have said this before, such is not provided for in our Constitution. "On the issue of independence, we can talk about it but we will always maintain that Bougainville is an integral part of Papua New Guinea. "They're a hard people to convince, though."

Source: The National - 5 July 00

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Bougainville autonomy will need constitutional change: Gene

By HARLYNE JOKU

PARLIAMENT will have to amend the Constitution to give Bougainville more autonomy, Attorney General Michael Gene said yesterday.

This is because the formation of an autonomous Bougainville government is unconstitutional, Mr Gene told key government executives at the Bougainville autonomy workshop at Port Moresby's Gateway Hotel.

Given the situation however, he said, lawmakers should not be too rigid about the law.

Mr Gene said the Bougainville delegation is asking for something that is not provided for in the Constitution.

"The drafting of a (Bougaiville) Constitution and its adoption by a constituent assembly will have to be provided for by the National Constitution, an Organic Law or an Act of Parliament," the chief government legal advisor said.

Mr Gene made the remarks when presenting a paper on the views of the Attorney General to the strategic workshop on autonomy for Bougainville.

He particularly referred to the proposal presented by the Bougainville Joint Negotiating Position on the Bougainville Autonomous Government.

Mr Gene said proposed structures powers and functions of the autonomous government were unconstitutional.

"The Bougainville position under powers and functions is that they want everything else except certain aspects of Foreign Affairs and Defence. This is totally outside of our constitutional framework. "This can only be done by amending the constitution and the various pieces of legislation that created and provided for these powers and functions," he said.

However, he told the participants that the Government must not be too "legalistic or formalistic" about the issue and look at the Bougainville position in its entirety.

Mr Gene said the entire proposal taken in its entirety would require National Executive Council and Parliament's deliberation and resolution of the same.

"It is my view that there is tremendous opportunity within the Organic Law for powers and functions to be further defined and delegated to the provinces. Taking the Bougainville position in its entirety, it would definitely require constitutional amendment," Mr Gene said.

He warned however, that in the event the approach is taken by the National Government, other provincial governments would ask for greater autonomy.

And to avoid such a situation, the National Government's approach should be to look at the whole structure of provincial governments and identify other options for negotiation.

Mr Gene advised the government not to restrict its deliberations to the Bougainville Position Paper.

He said it should firstly provide a response to the Bougainville position and then provide alternatives such as regional governments or any other forms of governments that gives greater autonomy to the decentralised levels of government.

"For instance, the Australian federal system of government, New Zealand's arrangement with Cook Islands, Britain's arrangement with North Ireland and so forth," Mr Gene said.

He said the process has the potential to impact on the whole constitutional and legal power structure of the provinces and that it is imperative that that factor is given serious consideration.

Papers were also presented by the Department of Treasury, police and the Defence Force, and the Department of Personnel Management.

About a 100 participants from all key government sectors attended.

Source: The National - 5 July 00

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Kabui threatens to keep off future peace talks

By HARLYNE JOKU and TIMOTHY MASIU

PRESIDENT of the Bougainville People's Congress (BPC), Joseph Kabui, has threatened to keep away from future negotiations if the government continues to make negotiations in yet another workshop session.

Mr Kabui said the days of workshops, analyses and post mortems are gone.

"The Bougainville delegation has put everything in detail to the national government. We have put on the table the causes and the prescriptions of solving the Bougainville crisis," he said.

"It is time for us to really seriously address the issues of referendum and autonomy. (They) go hand in hand and must be addressed simultaneously," Mr Kabui said.

In a recent document to the cabinet, Minister for Bougainville Affairs Sir Michael Somare had said: "Consistent with previous discussions in the NEC, I entered the latest rounds of talks with the Bougainville delegation believing and saying that the overriding objective should not be more formal agreements and public signings, but practical progress on real issues,".

Sir Michael drew the NEC's attention to the implications that autonomy for Bougainville might have domestically and internationally and that the issues at stake could reshape the nation's political landscape permanently.

He stressed the need to proceed, thoroughly, carefully and with all due deliberate speed and not to be pressed into making rushed judgements, decisions and agreements in relation to the issue.

The two-day in-house executive workshop in Port Moresby beginning today is a result of Sir Michael's directive to the Bougainville Peace and Restoration Office.

Its objective is to evaluate and make recommendations on the proposals to the National Government.

Source: The National - 4 July 00

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Two investigators in Miriung assassination case dismissed

THE two policemen involved in the investigation of the 1996 killing of North Solomons premier Theodore Miriung have been relieved of the task as the police seek to "fast track" the re-opened case.

Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) director Thomas Eluh said yesterday that he has decided to remove Sergeant Mick Bocho and Lance Kanene from the case amid reports that they had been "sacked" for talking to the media.

Mr Eluh said that a new investigating team has been put in place.

"We like to fast-track the case," he added.

The Miriung case was re-opened two weeks ago following a three-year delay because of the inconclusiveness of the first investigation, carried out by a retired judge from Sri Lanka.

The relieving of officers Bocho and Kanene however, has drawn criticisms from the police ranks.

Mr Bocho, who has been involved in the preliminary investigations since the 1996 killing, confirmed that he has been removed from the case. His boss, Mr Eluh, denied suggestions from some quarters within the police force that Mr Bocho and Mr Kanene had been "sacked".

Mr Eluh said what happened was that the investigating files had been removed from Mr Bocho who took charge of the case when it was re-opened.

This action had been taken because Mr Bocho was alleged to be responsible for giving information to the media, Mr Eluh said, adding that Mr Bocho did not have such authority.

Mr Eluh also ruled out suggestions that Mr Bocho's removal would delay the speedy conclusion of the investigation.

The case was resurrected after Bougainville Central MP, Sam Akoitai, raised it in Parliament during Question Time last month.

Mr Akoitai had asked Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta and Police Minister Mathias Karani about the progress of the inquiry into the Miriung case.

Mr Akoitai also told Parliament that the people of Bougainville, especially Mr Miriung's relatives, were waiting for the outcome of the investigations and the prosecution of those responsible for his murder.

Police immediately re-opened the case with Mr Bocho at the helm of the investigating team until his and Mr Kanene's removal last week.

Mr Bocho told The National: "Even my bosses do not know some of the information that I have. I have not revealed everything I know to them."

News about the removal of the two investigators surprised Mr Akoitai last night who said: "If it is true I am very concerned about this."

"The people of Bougainville have been waiting to know the truth," he said.

Sources suggested that Mr Bocho could have completed his investigations in about six weeks. He had already begun to interview senior officers of the PNGDF in Port Moresby at the time of his removal.

From Port Moresby the investigating team was scheduled to travel to Bougainville and visit Konga in the Siwai area, South Bougainville, where Mr Miriung was gunned down in October 1996 while having dinner with his family. He was shot dead in his village of Kapana.

The investigators are expected to interview Mr Miriung's family members and other members of the PNGDF.

The first independent inquiry into the matter was carried out by a retired Sri Lankan judge, Dhrunabukkarasu Suntheralingham, at the request of the Government of Sir Julius Chan.

The findings were presented to Sir Julius and the Police Commissioner but they have not been made public.

On his departure, Justice Suntheralingham told reporters at Jacksons International Airport on Nov 30, 1996, that he had uncovered evidence that two members of the resistance fighters and PNGDF members were involved in the killing.

Names of the perpetrators were known but withheld because of the tense situation at that time in Bougainville.

The Chan government had branded the report as biased, resulting in a decision to open a new investigation.

Source: The National - 4 July 00

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MV Sankamap owners attempt to raise repair costs

By MORESI RUAHMA'A

ALL necessary steps are in place to bail out the North Solomons Provincial Government vessel, MV Sankamap, from Cairns in Australia.

The ship has been stranded at a slipway in Cairns since early this year awaiting total payment of a A$400,000 (K597,000) repair bill.

The Bougainville Interim Provincial Government has already approached the Bougainville Restoration Office in Port Moresby for assistance.

The MV Sankamap Management Committee chairman, Kapeatu Puaria, said the negotiations has already taken place between the parties including the Cairns Slipway (NQEA), to identify areas to cut down on costs.

Mr Puaria said this should be done 'without affecting the ship's chances of obtaining its seaworthiness certificate from the Transport Department in Papua New Guinea.

Mr Puaria said he was instructed by the Provincial Executive Council to negotiate a settlement of the survey costs with the director of Bougainville Peace and Restoration (BPR) office, Bill Dihm, in Port Moresby.

Mr Puaria, who left for Port Moresby over the weekend said he was confident something positive would be worked out during the talks with the BPR office.

Mr Puaria said that difficulties in meeting the repair cost of MV Sankamap in Cairns were similar to the difficulties being experienced by the people of Bougainville in the restoration of infrastructure.

Source: The National - 4 July 00

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Subject: Invitation Boug. video launch

AN EVERGREEN ISLAND

Date: Mon, 03 Jul 2000 15:42:26 +1100

In 1989 the landowners of Central Bougainville closed one of the world's largest copper mines that was destroying their land. In response, a military blockade was imposed around the island. For a decade the Bougainvillean people survived without assistance from the outside world.

INVITATION

The video documentary, 'AN EVERGREEN ISLAND' will be launched at 6.30pm for 7pm screening on Tuesday, 1st August, 2000 at the Side On Cafe, 83 Parramatta Road Annandale, (just down from the Johnston Street intersection). Introduction by Moses Havini, Overseas Representative of the Bougainville Peoples Congress.

The Cafe has a bar and restaurant.

This film was made with the financial assistance of Community Aid Abroad's Pacific Program, the Search Foundation, the Mineral Policy Insitute and the CFMEU.

RSVP Mandy & Fabio Ph/fax: 9974 4302 Mob: 0410 633 503 e-m: cavadini@tpgi.com.au

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Kabui warns govt not to derail peace

BOUGAINVILLE People's Congress president Joseph Kabui warned the ruling People's Democratic Movement party and its leaders not to derail the peace process with their intentions to adjourn parliament.

Mr Kabui said he hoped the Prime Minister and his Government was not playing around with Bougainville with its latest announcement. Speaking in Buka, where he is attending the joint BPC and interim Bougainville provincial government briefing on the Gateway Communique, Mr Kabui said he was worried when he heard the news of the planned parliament adjournment. "I was so worried because many of us have put a lot of effort into bringing the peace process to where it is today. We all have spent a lot of time to put into action, to fast track the process on Bougainville, especially to finding a final settlement to the conflict," he said. "With the announcement of the proposed adjournment it will upset the thinking of the people. Already, many of them are making up their conclusions that we will not get what we want if Parliament is adjourned." He saw the recently signed communique as the instrument to finalise the real issues of autonomy and referendum. He said according to the communiqué the National Government would be in a better position by September to sign an agreement that would allow Bougainville to have the highest possible autonomy, with referendum coming soon after. "I hope they are not playing around with us now that they have secured a substantial amount of money from the World Bank, IMF and other friendly nations. "It is interesting to see the announcement to adjourn Parliament and the finalisation of all this comes after the conclusion and signing of the Gateway Communique."

Source: Postcourier - 3 July 00

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Sinato: Better plans for boat

RECOVERY plans have been approved to bail out Bougainville's flag carrier, the MV Sankamap, from its financial difficulties.

The recovery plan however does not cater for urgent funding required to meet the remaining cost of the survey refit work done at the Cairns slipway in Australia. Acting Governor Gerard Sinato said he understood the difficulties faced and hoped that arrangements to find money to bail out the vessel from the slipway would be made soon. He said the money to rescue the Sankamap from Cairns would have to come from "outside sources", as the current Bougainville budget did not cater for the survey refit expenses. He said the interim provincial government would keep the ship to serve the people in the Atolls and mainland Bougainville. The Provincial Executive Council had last month approved an annual grant of K200,000 to be made to MV Sankamap management.

The PEC decision, also directs that a six member management committee be appointed. Its immediate tasks are: to cut down on crew and shore staff; to review salaries and sea-going allowances and make adjustments; to increase passengers' fares by 35% and freight charges to near commercial rates;to review fixed and variable costs and cut it down by 20-35%; to achieve a surplus of K150,000 by the end of this year and to invest each year's surplus in interest-bearing deposits for survey and related maintenance costs. Mr Sinato said the long term plan will be to privatise the MV Sankamap or sell it for a new ship in the next five years.

Source: Postcourier - 3 July 00

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News in Brief - Meet on autonomy

AN in-house executive workshop to discuss the autonomy proposals presented to the National Government by the Bougainville leaders will start in Port Moresby tomorrow. It will involve key government agencies and is organised by the Bougainville Peace and Restoration office. Bougainville Affairs Minister Sir Michael Somare will officially open the workshop. The workshop aims to receive briefings, evaluate and make recommendations to the Government on the Bougainville autonomy proposals.

Source: Postcourier - 3 July 00

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Contact Details:

BFM - Bougainville Freedom Movement (Coordination in Australia):
VIKKI JOHN - e-mail: vikki@law.uts.edu.au
P.O. Box 134, Erskineville NSW 2043, Australia, Phone +61-2-9558-2730

BIG - Bougainville Interim Government
MOSES HAVINI (International Political Representative in Asia/Pacific)
PO Box 134, Erskinville, NSW 2043, Australia
tuluan@ar.com.au
Phone/Fax +61-2-9804-7632 , Mobile +61-(0)414-226-428

MARTIN MIRIORI (International BIG Secretary in Europe, NL)
e-mail: UNPOnl@antenna.nl (Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Org.)
Phone +31-55-577-99-60 , Fax +31-55-577-99-39

MAX WATTS - (specialised Journalist) email: RosieK@bigpond.com
P.O. Box 98, Annandale NSW 2038, Australia
Phone +61-2-9564-1147 , Phone/Fax +61-2-9818-2343 (work)