30 May 2003

Governor of PNG island of Bougainville warns of peace process collapsing

11:36 am on 30 May 2003

The governor of Bougainville is warning the Papua New Guinea government the peace process could collapse because of the government's failure to meet its financial commitments to the province.

John Momis says budgetary constraints have denied Bougainville its allocation of over 2.2 million US dollars under the peace agreeement.

He says essential services are close to collapsing and this is causing civil unrest.

"We have ex-combatants., we have the total pouplation of Bougainville, except for a few, who are supporting the peace process who are nowbeing aggravated and frustrated by the failure of the national government to provide services. We have a very disillusioned public service, we have a lot of young highly traumatised people who are knocking on our doors and not only knocking on our doors - knocking down our doors."

Mr Momis says he is considering legal action over the government's alleged breach.

And he says the government's concern that rebel leader Francis Ona could undermine the peace process is misplaced.

But the Bougainville affairs minister Sir Peter Barter, says it is imperative that Francis Ona buys into the peace process.

We cannot understate the importance of Francis becoming a part of the process. He'd be very welcome to come into it, and we want to make him feel welcome that he will come into it. I understand some action has been taken to try to get him to come in. I've made myself very clear that I'm available at any time, fly over there, sit with him anywhere, any time with any person.