17 Dec 2003

UN ready to extend its commitment on Bouugainville

4:45 pm on 17 December 2003

The United Nations has proposed maintaining its presence on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville for a further six months.

The UN Bougainville mission is scheduled to leave the island at the end of this month, but with the final resolution of the weapons issue yet to be decided, the UN says it should maintain its presence until the end of June.

Radio Australia says the issue has been discussed at the UN Security Council this week and there was widespread support for a limited extension of the Un presence.

The council heard the UN's presences on Bougainville is deemed to be essential to the peace process and more so with the scheduled withdrawal at the end of this month of the last of the regional peace monitors.