29 May 2003

PNG minister calls on Bougainville rebel leader Ona to join peace process

9:06 am on 29 May 2003

A Papua New Guinea government minister, Sir Peter Barter, has called on the Bougainville rebel leader, Francis Ona, and his supporters to put away their weapons and join efforts to strengthen peace on the island.

Sir Peter, who is the Bougainville affairs minister, has called on him to help in the drafting of a Bougainville constitution and in joining the autonomous Bougainville government.

He says the other parties in the peace process are awaiting a signal from Francis Ona to make the peace complete.

Sir Peter says he welcomes progress made at last week's meeting in Buka of the Peace Process Consultative Committee and urges the parties to put the weapons in containers for the UN-supervised process to be completed.

He says he is encouraged by the containment of weapons by the BRA on the edge of the no go zone declared by Francis Ona.

The last international peace monitors are due to leave at the end of June nearly six years after their first deployment.