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Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has stressed the need to have a united Papua New Guinea.
Speaking at the opening of the Government House in Kavieng last Friday, O’Neill told the people of Bougainville that Papua New Guinea will honour every word that was in the Bougainville Peace Agreement.
O’Neill said this when giving his commitment to give autonomy to East New Britain and New Ireland Provinces and to roll out the same throughout the country before the end of this Parliament in five years.
“I say that believing very strongly that the founding fathers of our nation Sir Michael Somare, Sir Julius Chan, President John Momis, and many others in the country who have fought hard to create this united country of ours, believe strongly that we must remain united well into the future, I support the call of autonomy on those basis.
“I know our people in Bougainville, have gone through many a crisis and many difficulties, our former Prime Ministers who are here with us today, under their leadership had to endure many of those challenges, today as we begin our journey with the people of Bougainville I want to assure them that Papua New Guinea will stand by the peace agreement that we signed,” O’Neill said
“I have stated very publicly that we will honour every word in that peace agreement, we must not mislead our people on Bougainville.
“Peace Agreement says very clearly, any outcome of a referendum will have to be endorsed by Parliament, which basically means that the people of Bougainville will also convince the people of Papua New Guinea as well through their elected leaders.
“This is a journey that we have to work together, and I welcome the initiative and the offer of assistance to talk with the people of Bougainville from the former Prime Ministers, particularly Sir Julius Chan.”
O’Neill said whatever autonomous arrangement that was done for East New Britain and New Ireland replicated right throughout the country.
“We cannot make the mistakes like we have done in the past, where we introduced provincial governments created a structure of government that we could not fund and maintain, that is what happened in the last 25-30 years, just because we have to satisfy Bougainville, whatever autonomous arrangement we have to come with it must function for the best interest of our people that is our number one priority and secondly it must be funded well so it can function in provinces,” he said.
O’Neill made the remarks on his official visit to New Ireland to open two Government House’s in Namatanai and Kavieng that will house national and world leaders on visits to the province.
He was accompanied by a huge delegation including former PM Sir Rabbie Namaliu, Ministers Jelta Wong, Emil Tammur, Dr Fabian Pok, William Duma, Kevin Isifu, Johnson Tuke and Governors Paias Wingti, Peter Yama and Nakikus Konga.
source: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
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