22 Jul 2019

Bougainville conflict veterans prepare for referendum

4:19 pm on 22 July 2019

Veterans from both sides of the conflict in Bougainville are meeting to develop a united path ahead of the referendum on independence from Papua New Guinea.

2001 Bougainville Peace Agreement ceremony in Arawa

2001 Bougainville Peace Agreement ceremony in Arawa Photo: RNZ Walter Zweifel

In meetings last week in Arawa and Panguna, the various groups reached consensus on issues such as law and order and the containment and disposal of weapons.

These are both key matters to be settled to meet the conditions for the vote to be held.

New Dawn FM reported that a combined reconciliation was now underway from which a joint statement would be issued on behalf of all veterans.

The conflict, a 10-year civil war thought to have claimed 20,000 lives, ended with a peace process in 1997 and a peace agreement signed in 2001 that established the referendum.

The veterans have also been discussing ways to spark Bougainville's economic recovery.

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