31 Jul 2003

Hopes Bougainville can decide in weeks on destruction of guns

4:15 pm on 31 July 2003

Papua New Guinea's Minister of Bougainville Affairs, Sir Peter Barter, says he had hoped that decisions regarding the destruction of weapons would have been made by now.

This week the United Nations representative Noel Sinclair declared that stage two of the plan, the collection of weapons on the island, had reached a satisfactory conclusion.

Sir Peter says he welcomes the completion of stage two.

But he says he had hoped a decision would have been made on stage three -the destruction of the guns - during last week's Peace Process Consultative Committee meeting.

Sir Peter says he hopes that that decision will now be made at a key meeting next month.

"Talks will immediately begin on Nissan Island, where I expect 200 of the Bougainvilleans will go up there to discuss amongest other things the disposal of the weapons, in fact that's what we want them to discuss, and at the moment arrangements are being made for that meeting to go ahead on Nissan Island probably in mid August, hopefully at that time they will make a decision on the disposal of the weapons"

Minister for Bougainville, Sir Peter Barter.