Bougainville president to address PNG parliament

11:51 am on 29 August 2019

Bougainville's President is to address the Papua New Guinea parliament this morning about the upcoming independence referendum.

Bougainville President John Momis

Bougainville President John Momis Photo: supplied

A motion was tabled in the parliament yesterday to allow John Momis to address the sitting on issues pertaining to November's referendum in Bougainville.

PNG's prime minister James Marape told parliament MPs should welcome Mr Momis and that he would reciprocate the address.

"I ask the Members of Parliament to give respect to President Momis and we allow him to address us," Mr Marape said,

"I will reciprocate in an address to the Bougainville Assembly, and try for the regional leaders as well as the national leaders to set the pace in as far as where we would like to take the country and the region towards the referendum and life after referendum," he said.

Mr Marape said the nation was at an important juncture with the Bougainville referendum process among the greatest challenges faced by PNG since gaining independence in 1975.

He told parliament that the government had no choice but to confront this issue head on.

"So there's a growing excitement in the referendum. We are sticking to the fact and we are sticking to the 2001 Peace Agreement. On record, our national governments past and our national government today will not deviate from this," he said.

"Our people on the island are geared towards referendum, there has been increasing evidence of friends on Bougainville responding… mobilised and disposing firearms."

Mr Marape will soon take a government team to Bougainville for meeting of the Joint Supervisory Body overseeing the referendum.

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