Bougainville president urges adherence to Peace Agreement

5:36 am on 21 March 2020

In that non-binding vote, 98 percent of Bougainvilleans voted for independence from Papua New Guinea.

President of the autonomous Bougainville government, John Momis.

President of the autonomous Bougainville government, John Momis. Photo: RNZI

The result is now the subject of consultation between Bougainville and PNG.

The president, John Momis, said the Peace Agreement required the PNG parliament to adhere to what the two governments agree.

"In my heart of hearts, I believe that an honest, consultative process, mutually taking into account the needs of both governments and the importance of self-determination, will deliver a good outcome, a peaceful outcome."

The independence referendum was the ultimate provision of 2001's Bougainville Peace Agreement which formally ended hostilities in Bougainville following a protracted civil war.

Mr Momis said it was vital the referendum result remained "front and centre" when the PNG parliament considered ratification.

For this reason he said his government was seeking a definition of what was meant or understood by the term, 'ratification'.

The president warned the will of his people should not be ignored by PNG's government in the final analysis.

"If the people of Bougainville feel they have been ignored completely, they will be totally disappointed and then might not want to deal with the national government in any way whatsoever.

"We will do our level best to ensure the consultative process is extensive, and must take into account not just the legalities, but especially in particular the human considerations that would in the end deliver a peaceful outcome," Mr Momis said.