[Documents menu]Bougainville independence movement
From: Norbert Braumann <i0080109@ws.rz.tu-bs.de>
Subject: (Fwd) BOUGAINVILLE - Media Statement - 13 May 98 (fwd)
To: brownh@ccsu.edu
Date: Mon, 22 Jun 1998 22:27:55 +0100 (MESZ)
Reply-To: N.BRAumann@tu-bs.de
Date: Thu, 14 May 1998 11:58:57 GMT-1000
From: "Vikki John" <VIKKI@lexsun.law.uts.edu.au>
Reply-To: v.john@uts.edu.au
Organization: Faculty Of Law, Uni. Of Tech., Syd.
To: Bougainville.Updates@lexsun.law.uts.edu.au
Subject: (Fwd) BOUGAINVILLE - Media Statement - 13 May 98

Bougainville - Media Conference & Media Statement

By the Bougainville Interim Government/BRA

Addressed by Mr Martin Miriori, Secretary and Mr Moses Havini, International Political Representative, Bougainville Interim Government (BIG)
12.30-1.30pm Wednesday, 13 May, 1998
at Uniting Church, 8 Floor, 222 Pitt Street, Sydney

  • Bougainville / PNG Cease-Fire Agreement - 30 April `98
  • Ona and the Peace Process
  • Sacking of Overseas Bougainville Interim Government Officers.

We would like to report on the successful conclusion of the signing of the Cease-Fire Agreement on Bougainville on April 30, 1998. This follows nine months of negotiations beginning in July 1997 with the Burnham Agreement, Burnham Truce in October `97, and the Lincoln Agreement in January 1998. The cease-fire, which is permanent and irrevocable, came into effect at mid night on Friday 1st May 1998. The forces at arms, that is the Papua New Guinea Security Forces, Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) and the Resistance are now to refrain from all hostile acts, the carriage or possession and use of arms, ammunition, explosives and other instruments of death that may cause death or injury on Bougainville.

All people are now able to move freely throughout Bougainville, which now signals a clear end to hostilities between the Papua New Guinea military and the Bougainville Revolutionary Army after nine years. Concerning free movement of people, there is however, a very strong feeling from our people that other persons especially from Papua New Guinea (PNG) be restricted from entering Bougainville.

They feel very strongly to protect their land, economic opportunities, etc., against outside interests, as was the case before the war. Bougainvilleans also would like to guard against one of the biggest problems now facing PNG, `squatter settlements' - of being re-introduced into Bougainville. This is now an endemic problem in PNG for which they too seem to have no answers.

A Neutral Regional Peace Monitoring Group.

A Neutral Regional Peace Monitoring Group (NRPMG) is now in place as of May 1, 1998, to monitor and report on the compliance with all aspects of the cease-fire. They are also to promote and instil confidence in the peace process through its presence and through its good offices. They are also to provide assistance in the implementation of the Lincoln Agreement of which the cease-fire is one such provision; and to co-operate by agreement in ways that will assist the democratic resolution of the conflict. Australia leads the NRPMG with forces from New Zealand, Fiji and Vanuatu.

United Nations Observer Mission.

After a resolution endorsing the NRPMG was passed by the United Nations Security Council, New York; a United Nations Observer Mission has been appointed to work in conjunction with the NRPMG to undertake its own assessments and observations of the cease-fire and the peace process. They may also be requested to assist in other areas as may be requested by the parties.

Call out Order, Neutral Zone and Phasing Out of the PNG Military.

The people of Bougainville see the Call Out Order as "an act of war". By virtue of this Order, the PNG security forces were deployed into Bougainville in 1989. From this time onwards, the ravages of war had cost the people of Bougainville dearly; in terms of human lives, property and their right to live in a free and safe society. In order to consolidate the cease-fire agreement the Call Out Order is to be rescinded in Bougainville forthwith by the Papua New Guinea Government.

The establishment of a neutral zone or zones is essential for the creation of a safe environment whereby Bougainvilleans can assemble without fear or intimidation. The capital Arawa is to be created a demilitarised neutral zone as soon as possible as the proposed venue for the `June 98 All Bougainville Political Meeting'. No serious meeting could be held in Arawa until the PNG Defence Force stationed in Arawa is moved out.

The Neutral Regional Peace Monitoring Group, through its working body the Peace Process Consultative Committee (PPCC) within its functions will assist to develop detailed plans for the disposal of weapons.

It will also assist to develop detailed plans for the phased withdrawal of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force, the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary Mobile Riot Squad from Bougainville. The people of Bougainville demand as in accordance with the Lincoln Agreement that members of the Papua New Guinea Military withdraw from Bougainville as soon as possible.

The Political Issue.

The Political Issue is contained in all the agreements signed since July 1997. The right to self-determination is the mainstay of the political struggle on Bougainville. It is now a common perception internationally, including Australia and all the Pacific nation states that only a political resolution will resolve the conflict / war on Bougainville, and not through military means. The people on Bougainville stand firm on this ground. The current peace process is the mechanism by which the people would like to attain their aim and not through continued warfare. Nine years of fighting has been long enough, our people have won this war and now they won this peace.

Sacking of Bougainville Interim Government Officers.

The sacking of B.I.G. Officers by Mr Francis Ona at 7am on Thursday, 30 April 1998, was dictatorial and not through normal government procedures. The people of Bougainville who support the peace process and not war have also popularly rejected Mr Ona's sacking of the B.I.G. Officers. They made it clear in meetings held with them for five days after the signing of the cease-fire agreement, that they have full confidence in their B.I.G. officers. This was in South Bougainville, Central Bougainville and North Bougainville. We continue to appeal to Mr Ona to respect the wishes of the people to a peaceful resolution to the war and enter the peace process with them.

Members of the Neutral Regional Peace Monitoring Group.

With threats recently issued by Mr Ona in threatening members of the NRPMG currently serving on Bougainville, we wish to assure the International community and family members of the Peace Monitoring Group now on Bougainville - that the B.R.A. will continue to fully guarantee their safety. As in accordance with the Lincoln Agreement and the Cease-Fire Agreement the NRPMG are unarmed and pose no threats in Bougainville. They are there merely to comply with the wishes of the majority of the people of Bougainville to monitor the cease-fire agreement and the peace process.

A Democratic Political Process for Bougainville.

Through this current peace process, the people are looking forward to further developments of their political and democratic process on Bougainville. This is by the establishment of a Reconciliation Government by the end of 1998. This will form the political framework by which we will continue to have dialogue with the Government of Papua New Guinea. For the eventual resolution of the political issue of the people of Bougainville; and that is their right to self-determination leading to their independence.

Mr Martin Miriori
Bougainville Interim Government.

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