4 Nov 2002

New resolve to peace process among former Bougainville militants

5:44 pm on 4 November 2002

A leader on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville says former militants who had recently taken back their guns have now made a new commitment to the peace process.

The PNG Inter- Government Relations Minister, Sir Peter Barter, says the theft of guns from containers has caused anxiety in PNG and internationally.

A Bougainville leader, Joseph Kabui, says the former militants were frustrated at the Government's failure to pay them for services they had provided.

As well he says many had been expecting funding for projects through the Ex-Combatants Trust Account, but this is yet to eventuate.

But Mr Kabui says after meetings on Bougainville last week he believes there is a new resolution among the ex-combatants not to let money factors cloud the issue.

"but to concentrate on the number one priority and that is to ensure peace continues, to ensure that the continuity of peace will lead to the establishment of the government that people of Bouganville have been waiting for"

Mr Kabui says the ex-combatants have now committed to completing stage two of the gun surrender program by December 24th.

At stage two the guns are stored in a locked container with one key held by a former militant leader and the other by the UN representative.