29 Jun 2004

PNG hoping to hear tonight whether UN team on Bougainville will stay past June 30

8:48 pm on 29 June 2004

The Papua New Guinea Government is waiting to hear tonight whether the United Nations Security Council has agreed to extend the deployment of its mission to Bougainville.

The UN Mission, which has overseen the peace process on the island since July 1998, is scheduled to depart tomorrow, but both the PNG Government and Bougainville's leaders have called for the team to be kept on.

The Minister of Bougainville Affairs, Sir Peter Barter, says a Government delegation got a favourable hearing from the Security Council and he expects a positive response from the body tonight.

Sir Peter says the UN presence is necessary to comply with Bougainville's constitution.

"it referred to the United Nations Observer Mission being the appropriate body to, first of all, identfy when weapons should be disposed, and contained and destroyed, and when that process had been completed..they were also appointed there to ensure they were there whilst the election of the autonomous government took place, and that was written into the constitution."