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Bougainville peace process needs to move on

The National

FOREIGN Affairs and Immigration Minister Sir Rabbie Namaliu said a visit this week by a senior official from the United Nations Secretariat underlines the need for the parties involved in the Bougainville peace process to move on. Valery Marusin, from New York was the first director of the United Nations Observer Mission on Bougainville. He is here to discuss and advise on how UNOMB will leave by the end of the year.

"This follows the United Nations Security Council's recent decision to allow UNOMB to remain on the ground until the end of this year on the clear understanding that this is "the final extension", and requesting the United Nations Secretary-General to prepare 'an assessment of the ground situation and ... a mission closure plan' by the end of September, " Sir Rabbie said in a statement.

The letter from the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Sir Kieran Prendergast, announcing the visit stated that informal soundin gs among United Nations Security Council members have made it quite clear that there will be no further extensions for UNOMB.

"The issue is not the Bougainville peace process.

"United Nations member-states and officials are generally impressed with the progress the parties have made.

"But, at a time of great and growing need for United Nations' support around the world, there is widespread concern to contain the costs of United Nations peace-related missions, and to avoid open-ended commitments.

"These concerns apply to UNOMB, just as they do to other United Nations missions in other parts of the world.

A further mission, charged with preparing a detailed plan, is expected to come to PNG early next month.