PNG and Bougainville govts start prep for post-vote negotiations

3:56 pm on 18 October 2019

Papua New Guinea's minister for Bougainville Affairs says preparation is underway for negotiations following the upcoming independence referendum.

Sir Puka Temu

Sir Puka Temu. Photo: AFP

Bougainville is to hold a referendum on possible independence from PNG with a two-week polling period starting in late November.

The minister, Sir Puka Temu, has reiterated that the national Parliament has the final say in ratifying the outcome of the referendum.

Sir Puka said that would require an extensive negotiating process involving PNG and the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG).

"What we are preparing now is for both the national government and the ABG to start organising themselves on their own negotiating teams.

"We will establish our team, made up of people with high level credibility with status, seniority etc, and the ABG will do the same."

Sir Puka said a permanent secretary would be established to service the negotiating teams.

He expected to soon make a submission to PNG's Cabinet for the creation of a secretariat structure.

Sir Puka also told the Parliament that the United Nations would be engaging with all MPs on the ratification process.

The minister said he couldn't predict how long the negotiation process would take.

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