12 Apr 2003

NZ Foreign Minister reaffirms withdrawl date for Bougainville peace monitors

9:15 am on 12 April 2003

The New Zealand Foreign Minister, Phil Goff, has reaffirmed that the Peace Monitoring Group on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville will leave at the end of June.

PNG's acting Minister for Bougainville Affairs, Sam Akoitai, has said that the withdrawal of the peace monitors could threaten the peace process.

But Mr Goff, who is on a visit to PNG, says the time is right to leave.

"We are very keen that that deadline should remain in place. It provides an incentive for the tasks that need to be fulfilled, to be fulfilled by that time"

Phil Goff says New Zealand will continue to provide support possibly with community policing