Bougainville referendum needs full PNG support

2:46 pm on 25 October 2016

Port Moresby has to do more to help prepare Bougainville for its referendum on independence a former Papua New Guinea cabinet minister says.

Arawa, Bougainville

Arawa, Bougainville Photo: RNZI

The autonomous region is set to hold a vote in June of 2019.

A Former MP for Central Bougainville, Sam Akoitai, said the National Government must do everything possible to ensure Bougainvilleans have full faith in the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) ahead of the vote, which is the final stage of the Peace Agreement.

He said recent attacks by Port Moresby politicians on President John Momis are heartbreaking and the manner by which PNG handled the divestment of shares by Rio Tinto without involving the ABG is a case in point.

Most Bougainvilleans see this as a divide and rule tactic he said and PNG needs to fully engage, to sort matters such as the outstanding funding disputes, which are handicapping preparations for the vote.

Mr Akoitai said if the National Government fails to implement the Peace Agreement in full, it will be a betrayal of thousands of Bougainvilleans, including him.

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