15 Sep 2004

PNG dispute stops UN visit to Bougainville

12:52 pm on 15 September 2004

A high-level United Nations team has been stranded in the Papua New Guinea capital, Port Moresby, after a land compensation claim forced the closure of Bougainville's Buka airport and wharf.

The Post Courier newspaper reports that local landowners closed the airport and the wharf project in support of their claim for five million US dollars.

All Air Niugini and Air Link flight services to Buka were cancelled yesterday and the paper says there is no assurance flights will resume today.

Inter Government relations Minister, Sir Peter Barter, says he is prepared to meet landowners as soon as the airport re-opens.

And Mining Minister, Sam Akoitai, described the closure as a threat to national security and called on law enforcement agencies to arrest those putting the security of the province at risk.