5 Nov 2002

New peace commitment by ex militants on PNG's Bougainville island

11:38 am on 5 November 2002

A leader on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville says former militants who had recently taken back their guns have now made a new commitment to the peace process.

On a visit to Bougainville last week the PNG Inter-Government Relations Minister, Sir Peter Barter, says the theft of guns from containers had caused anxiety in PNG and internationally.

A Bougainville leader, Joseph Kabui, says the former militants were frustrated at the government's failure to pay them for services they had provided.

As well he says many had been expecting funding for projects through the Ex-Combatants Trust Account, but this is yet to eventuate.

But Mr Kabui says after meetings on Bougainville last week he believes there is a new resolve among the ex-combatants not to let money factors cloud the issue.

Mr Kabui says the ex-combatants have now committed to completing stage two of the gun surrender program by December 24th.

"... the respective commanders at the company level and also the United Nations Mission Director on Bouganville has the other key. Stage three is the determination of the final fate what happens to the weapons. Do they get destroyed, do they get put away into some place for the autonomous government use by police."