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TALKS OVER BOUGAINVILLE INDEPENDENCE APPEARS DEADLOCKED.

By Sharon Engnui

At a meeting to try and solve the impasse yesterday, Prime Minister Marape and the Bougainville President Ishmael Toroama said publicly that a resolution was not clear.

Both leaders met privately for half an hour before the joint supervisory body meeting started at APEC House.

In front of ministers from both governments and diplomats it quickly became evident that the leaders were not on the same path.

It seemed clear that the two governments cannot agree on the voting majority that should apply for parliament’s next steps or on the question that should be put to parliament for a vote.

The stumbling block is what legislation the government will take to parliament and whether they will support it.

Mr. Marape suggested the government may not support independence saying: “While we sympathize with Bougainville we have our sovereignty to defend. We cannot set a precedent where one can use guns and then call a truce and get for independence.”

He knew it was not popular.

“To this the Bougainville side have voiced strong dissent,” he said .

After the prime minister’s speech, President Toroama asked for a short break to consider his response.

He came back defiant

“It was the promise of the National government to bring that matter for ratification to parliament that Bougainville leadership committed to disarm and join the peace process,” Mr Toroama said.

He called for a moderator to get the peace process back on track and suggested they come from the United States.

“We will never trust the National government because in ten to 15 years that matter has been swept away.” President Toroama said.

The expectation from Bougainville is that the national government will vote for independence.

“Mr. PM all that is required is for you and your government to bless my people with your decision in Parliament.” He added.

After his speech he and the prime minister embraced – giving hope that the process is not stalled for long.

After a long day of meetings to find the resolution, Both Parties have settle on one resolution that is to have a Moderator from one of the Pacific Island Countries to addressing the ongoing issues.

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