Praise for PNG leader‘s stance on Bougainville vote

Papua New Guinea‘s prime minister has received praise after statements that his government will respect the will of the people of Bougainville after their referendum next year.

The referendum on independence in the Autonomous Papua New Guinea region of Bougainville will take place in June 2019 Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

Bougainville is to hold a referendum on independence from PNG in June next year.

Prime Minister Peter O‘Neill said his government would endorse the outcome of the referendum, whatever it is.

A leading figure in the Bougainville Interim Government and the Bougainville Revolutionary Army during the 1990s, Martin Miriori, said it was a very positive statement from Mr O‘Neill, especially after “somewhat negative statements coming from PNG in recent weeks”.

Mr Miriori also said it was Mr O‘Neill‘s own party the National Congress that helped spur the peace process back in 1997, under the leadership of then Prime Minister Sir Bill Skate.

And Mr Miriori said Mr O‘Neill, if he respected the democratic will of the people, would bring honour and respect upon himself.