15 Dec 2004

UN head on Bougainville welcomes Constitution milestone

2:33 pm on 15 December 2004

The United Nations representative on Bougainville says final agreement on a constitution is a red-letter day for the future of the formerly embattled Papua New Guinea island.

The PNG Cabinet has endorsed the final draft constitution for an autonomous Bougainville.

It now needs only the signature of the Governor-General to become law.

The head of the UN Observer Mission on Bougainville, Thor Stenbock, says a key landmark has been reached.

"This is the most important thing that has happened in my period in PNG, really. Really. It is the important decision that has been made now that has been reached, or the parties have reached at this stage, the cornerstone of building up the autonomous government really."

Mr Stenbock says he expects the Governor-General to sign the Constitution any day.