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BOUGAINVILLE REFERENDUM AGREEMENT PROCESS

Prime Minister James Marape has assured the people and leaders of Bougainville that the agreement to progress the 2019 Referendum results has not been abandoned as it will be discussed in Parliament.

“Bougainville Affairs Minister Manaseh Makiba is now preparing all instruments for the Referendum results to be brought to Parliament,” Prime Minister Marape stated.

An important Joint Supervisory Body (JSB) meeting is scheduled for Monday April 29, 2024. In this meeting, Bougainville President Ishmael Toroama and Prime Minister Marape will discuss the last leg of the 2001 Peace Agreement (BPA), focusing on Parliament ratifying the results of the Referendum.

“The JSB meeting will clarify the process, including the Sessional Order that will be deployed, to bring the Referendum result to Parliament and tabled, and what happens after voting takes place,” Prime Minister explained.

“This has been one of the issues which the Bougainville and Papua New Guinea sides have differed on. We are now reaching that stage where Parliament will deliberate on the Referendum results.

Prime Minister noted that majority of Bougainvilleans voted for independence.

“I am very mindful that 97.7 per cent of Bougainvilleans voted for political independence and acknowledge the overwhelming support for this outcome.

“The 2001 BPA, under the guidance of the United Nations, allowed for the Referendum to take place.

“My government allowed for the Referendum to take place in 2019, and since then, we’ve allowed for post-Referendum consultations to take place on Bougainville, Kokopo, Wabag and Port Moresby which gave clarity to the process for Parliament to take custody of the results of the Referendum.”

Prime Minister stated that Parliament is the supreme law making authority in the country hence will ratify the result.

“All PNG leaders, including those from Bougainville, will have a say on Bougainville’s quest for political independence,” he affirmed.

Reflecting on the emotional ties and the sad conflict, Prime Minister Marape expressed, “I see Bougainville as ‘family’, as our ‘kinsmen and kinswomen’. I can only wish that there was no war, bloodshed, tears, heartache.”

Prime Minister appealed to the Bougainvilleans for understanding and patience.

“We are grappling with trying to reconcile the overarching framework of our Constitution, and also the aspect of the Constitution that deals with the BPA.”

“I want to appeal to our people on Bougainville that as we come face-to-face with Parliament to embrace the results, it’s like acknowledging your votes for your political future.

“Let us not fear this process,” Prime Minister Marape said.

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