19 May 2008

Bougainville President seeks to broaden reconciliation talks

10:10 am on 19 May 2008

The President of the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville, Joseph Kabui, says he wants to hold reconciliations with all the parties to the civil war which tore the province apart in the 1990s, including the Australian Government.

Reconciliations within Bougainville have been occurring for some years but Mr Kabui says it is time to reach out beyond the province.

He began by meeting with Sir Julius Chan, who was the PNG Prime Minister at the time attempts were being made to bring in the Sandline mercenaries.

"There is also going to be a time that reconciliation will also have to take place between the security force and the former combatants. And finally, I envisage that the day is going to come when we will have to look at having reconciliations with the Australian Government, because the war over the Panguna mine was, in one way, Australia's proxy war on Bougainville."

Joseph Kabui says he will meet Sir Julius later this year on Bougainville to continue the reconciliation process.