25 Mar 2003

Calls in Bougainville for Francis Ona and Joseph Kabui to end feud

4:39 pm on 25 March 2003

In Papua New Guinea, the head of the Bougainville People's Congress, Joseph Kabui, says hardline rebel Francis Ona should accept offers of reconciliation talks to end a long standing feud between them.

Mr Kabui says repeated offers to the leader of the self declared independent state of Mekamui on Bougainville to discuss reconciliation and the peace process, have gone unanswered.

Ex-combatants from all sides have called on both men to reconcile their differences to ensure the island can elect an autonomous government later this year.

The former militants say many lives have been lost as a result of the feud, the latest being a killing of a man two weeks ago.

Mr Kabui says he is hopeful that Francis Ona will set aside the personal differences between them and participate in the peace process.

"I guess that it is Francis that has to make a move... while there is no official response, I know for a fact that at customary level, there is also a lot of discussion going among other chiefs and at clan level, so I think all these efforts, and all the attempts that are being made will pay dividends."

Joseph Kabui, leader of the Bougainville People's Congress.