14 Mar 2006

Bougainville president says solution to mercenaries can't be imposed by others

9:00 pm on 14 March 2006

The president of the Papua New Guinea autonomous province of Bougainville is warning that he will not accept a solution imposed by others over the former Fiji soldiers.

Joseph Kabui is instead calling for international intervention in the form of a team from the United Nations.

Mr Kabui was speaking as the foreign ministers of the Melanesian Spearhead Group gather in Vanuatu for a meeting tomorrow to discuss the illegal presence of the former Fijian soldiers on Bougainville, and other issues.

He says it's proving difficult to resolve the problem of the former soldiers, who are reported to be training militia in the no go zones.

But, Mr Kabui, who wasn't invited to the MSG meeting, says he won't accept an imposed answer.

"We are doing everything possible to pursue sorting the matter out through peaceful means; that is maintaining dialogue. Perhaps to supplement what is being done on the ground, we have to have an international intervention. I don't mean they come using force but perhaps the United Nations can be engaged."

Joseph Kabui, the Bougainville president.

The U.N. has already asked both PNG and Fiji for an invitation to send a team in to investigate the situation.