15 Jan 2020

Post-referendum: Bougainville Consultation Forum to meet

10:03 am on 15 January 2020

The first meeting of the Bougainville Consultation Forum will be held next week, as the region embarks on the work needed in the aftermath of last year's vote for independence from Papua New Guinea.

PNG's Minister for Bougainville Affairs, Sir Puka Temu.

PNG's Minister for Bougainville Affairs, Sir Puka Temu. Photo: RNZ Pacific / Johnny Blades

Voters were asked to choose between Bougainville having continued autonomy within Papua New Guinea or becoming independent.

A 97.7 percent majority voted for option two.

The forum now aims to bring together people from across Bougainville society to discuss what the government's strategy should be in negotiations with the PNG government.

Forum members will include government ministers, community representatives, veterans, the Mekamui Government of Unity, women, youth, churches, business leaders and expatriate Bougainvilleans.

"Its key role will be to discuss and agree on important issues for negotiation. These issues will then be passed on to the ABG negotiation team who will engage directly with the government of Papua New Guinea," the government said in a statement.

The autonomous region's government said the first tranche of meetings would focus on the first phase of consultations.

The inaugural meeting will be held next Thursday in Buka.

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