18 Nov 2008

Presidential candidate expects his role in Bougainville peace talks to be remembered by voters

2:59 pm on 18 November 2008

A candidate for the presidency in the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville believes voters will remember his role in the peace negotiations to end the years of civil war.

Martin Miriori, who is the elder brother of the late President Joseph Kabui, is one of 14 people running for the vacant post.

Mr Miriori says he only decided to run a day before nominations closed after numerous calls for him to enter the race, with people citing his pivotal role in the peace talks in Burnham in New Zealand in 1997.

Mr Miriori says his standing has not been affected by living away from Bougainville for most of the intervening years - time he says he put to good use.

"That gave me the freedom to be able to lobby the international community. I had close consultations with the United Nations, all the NGOs that of course supported the human rights of the people of Bougainville, and I did not forget Bougainville, my heart was always here and in the end I always wanted to come here."

Martin Miriori