18 Apr 2003

PNG Defence withdrawal from Bougainville an historic event

3:37 pm on 18 April 2003

The head of the New Zealand section of the Peace Monitoring Group on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville says the withdrawl of Defence Force soldiers is an historic moment.

The last soldiers from the PNG Defence Force left the province this week.

Lt Col Josh Wineera says their withdrawl marks a major point in the peace process and will bring much joy to the people of Bougainville.

"During the crisis and conflict they were engaging in combat with the PNG DF so yes a significant event but just another one of the steps in the process itself"