31 Mar 2005

Ona should join democratic process, says PNG minister

3:27 pm on 31 March 2005

Papua New Guinea's Minister for Inter-Governmental Relations Sir Peter Barter says Bougainville rebel leader Francis Ona should join the democratic process if he wishes to contribute to the future of the island.

Sir Peter says last week's trip by Mr Ona and his supporters out of the no-go zone shows they are confident that Bougainville is now at peace and secure.

The minister says if Mr Ona and his Mekamui movement were sincere, the Autonomous Bougainville Government elections would give them the opportunity to participate in the autonomous government and promote their ideas.

Sir Peter has also called on Bougainvillean leaders and the people to respect everyone's rights of choice and movement and to remove all barriers, especially in the No-Go Zone.