28 Jul 2007

Former PNG PM Sir Julius Chan returns to parliament

7:25 am on 28 July 2007

The former Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Sir Julius Chan, says he won't apologise to the people of Bougainville for the Sandline mercenary affair, which led to him being ousted in 1997.

Sir Julius who is returning to politics after ten years was responding to a call from the Autonomous Bougainville Government or ABG's President Joseph Kabui.

President Kabui has urged him to apologise following his election to Parliament as member for New Ireland.

Mr Kabui says the people of Bougainville are owed an apology after Sir Julius brought in mercenaries to kill them.

He says Sir Julius must find time to reconcile with Bougainvilleans who are willing and prepared to make a fresh start.

However, Sir Julius rejected the call and said Mr Kabui should apologise to him and the families of 12,000 people killed, which included Bougainvilleans and PNG Defence Force soldiers.

The Sandline crisis was a result of Sir Julius' executive decision as prime minister then to hire private soldiers to deal with the insurgency in Bougainville.

But it ended when the Commander of the PNG defence force Jerry Singirok went against the government and aborted the Sandline contract.

Sir Julius lost his Namatanai seat in 1997, the seat now held by his son Byron.