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Writs from Bougainville referendum returned to PNG vice-regal, PM Marape in Arawa
11:16 pm GMT+12, 12/12/2019, Papua New Guinea

The writs from Bougainville's historic independence referendum have been returned to Papua New Guinea's Governor-General.

 In the result announced on Wednesday, a 97.7 percent majority voted for independence in the autonomous PNG region's non-binding referendum.

 The long-anticipated referendum was the ultimate provision of 2001's Bougainville Peace Agreement, which followed a protracted civil war.

 The Bougainville Referendum Commission this morning returned the writs to PNG's acting Governor-General Job Pomat in the capital Port Moresby

 To come into effect, the result must be ratified by PNG's national parliament.

 First, the PNG and Autonomous Bougainville governments are to conduct consultations on the result and its implications.

 The consultations will begin early in the New Year, according to PNG's Prime Minister James Marape.

 Meanwhile, Prime Minister James Marape is now in Arawa where he and Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), President Chief Dr John Momis will jointly declare the results of the Bougainville Referendum.

 The Prime Minister arrived to a rousing welcome at the Aropa Airport at midday today where he was met on arrival by ABG Vice President Raymond Masono, ABG leaders and Bougainville national parliamentarians.

 A guard of Honor was also accorded to the Prime Minister by the Bougainville Police Service.

 According to the official programme which will get underway soon the Prime Minister will be welcomed to Arawa and Bougainville by North Nasioi ABG member, Nicholas Darku.

 There will be speeches from Central Bougainville MP, Sam Akoitai and the Bougainville Referendum Commission before President Momis and Prime Minister Marape will jointly declare the referendum results.

 Arawa Independence Park is packed to capacity as people eagerly await the official declaration.

SOURCE: RNZ PACIFIC/NBC NEWS


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