PNG PM says Bougainville referendum date not set

3:22 pm on 12 February 2019

Papua New Guinea's prime minister has re-affirmed his government's commitment to the Bougainville independence referendum but says the date for the vote has not been finalised.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill gives a talk at the Lowy Institute in Sydney on May 14, 2015

The Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill. Photo: AFP / Peter Parks

The autonomous region was due to go to the polls in June but the commission overseeing the referendum is reportedly seeking to postpone the ballot until October.

Under the terms of the Bougainville Peace Agreement a referendum on the region's political status must be held by 15 June 2020.

The Post Courier reported prime minister Peter O'Neill expressing confidence in the Bougainville Referendum Commission and its chair, the former Ireland Prime Minister Bertie Ahern.

Mr O'Neill said preparations will now proceed with pace but he says it's premature to speculate on the final date for the referendum.

He said the PNG government and Autonomous Bougainville Government will next discuss referendum preparations at a meeting of the Joint Supervisory Body on the 1 March.

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