The final outcome of the referendum process must be negotiated, Bougainville's president says.
John Momis addressed Papua New Guinea's parliament today on issues pertaining to November's independence referendum in Bougainville
PNG's parliament will have the final say over what eventuates from the indicative referendum in which Bougainvilleans will chose independence or greater autonomy from PNG.
Time would be needed following the plebiscite for Bougainville and PNG to negotiate what happened next, and there would have to be "give and take on both sides", Mr Momis said.
"For many Bougainvilleans it has been a shock to find that the Peace Agreement does not provide for the vote in the referendum to be binding," Mr Momis said.
"But that is what was negotiated in the Peace Agreement (in 2001). The people will need to be prepared for a negotiated outcome."
The essence of what his people want is the empowerment of Bougainville's government to manage its own affairs, Mr Momis said.
The president also told PNG's parliament about his people's lack of faith in their regions' autonomy arrangements.
He described frustrations stemming from the PNG government's failure to honour commitments to the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) during its 14-year history.
Each year PNG's government had failed to pay more than a fraction of the annual Restoration and Development grant that it was constitutionally bound to pay the ABG, Mr Momis said.
"Without the proper payment of this grant, the ABG can do very little to improve services and provide infrastructure in Bougainville," he said.
"The problems with this grant have contributed to a growing sense of frustration amongst Bougainvilleans with the autonomy arrangements."
Mr Momis reminded PNG MPs that there was no provision in the 2019 national budget for payment of the grant.