14 Mar 2005

PNG and Bougainville officials to consider help with elections

10:49 am on 14 March 2005

Papua New Guinea Government and Bougainville officials will this week consider a Pacific Islands Forum offer to help out with the province's poll to elect its first autonomous government.

The InterGovernment Relations Minister,Sir Peter Barter, says the Government has not received a formal offer from the Forum, but has been verbally advised that it is willing to provide election monitors.

He says when the joint interim supervisory body meets tomorrow and Wednesday in Buka, the Forum verbal offer will be on the agenda.

"We will discuss that and I would say that we will go back to them verbally and accept their offer, presuming that the Bougainville people will agree to it. As you are probably aware, leading into the autonomous government, the Government is not leading anything over there at the moment. The decision has to be made jointly and once it's made we will support it where ever we possibly can. ."