14 Jun 2005

Dozens flying into Buka for inauguration of Bougainville Government

9:22 pm on 14 June 2005

More than 120 special guests are expected in Buka for tomorrow's inauguration of the Autonomous Bougainville Government.

Last month the Papua New Guinea province elected a 40 member assembly which will have wide powers of autonomy delegated to it by the national government in Port Moresby.

Don Wiseman reports..

"The guest list includes Commonwealth Secretary General Don McKinnon, who as New Zealand's Foreign Minister help initiated the peace process which led to the election. New Zealand's official party is headed by Defence force commander, Brigadier General Jerry Mataparae, who was the first commander of the unarmed peace keepers sent to the province in late 1997. Most of the PNG Cabinet, the Port Moresby diplomatic corps and Bougainville activists from overseas are also returning for the event. Among them is Martin Miriori, the former rebels' international spokesman, who was given asylum in the Netherlands after his house in Honiara was fire bombed. Accommodation is tight in Buka but many of the dignitaries are staying on the tourist trimaran, Discoverer, which is owned by the Minister responsible for Bougainville Affairs, Sir Peter Barter."