BOUGAINVILLE: 'Peace' process in jeopardy

Issue 

Bougainville leaders have warned that the "peace process" may collapse if the PNG government and island leaders do not return to the negotiating table soon to resume the stalled negotiations on the future of the province.

Bougainville provincial governor John Momis and Bougainville People's Congress president Joseph Kabui issued a joint statement on November 6 expressing concern about the slow progress in the Bougainville talks.

The two leaders announced that a joint meeting of the Bougainville Interim Provincial Government and the Bougainville People's Congress, which involved more than 140 leaders representing all areas and groups in Bougainville, had "unanimously expressed their deep disappointment and grave concern about the lack of progress made in the negotiations".

"In spite of 10 rounds of negotiations over the past 17 months, the positions of the national government and Bougainville on almost all of the key issues remain far apart", the two leaders said.

Momis and Kabui said that the Bougainville leaders were very worried about the growing anger and frustration among Bougainvilleans. "Lack of progress in the political talks over the past few months is eroding the people's confidence", they said.

The timing and scope of a referendum on independence or autonomy for Bougainville remains a sticking point.