Asia Pacific Report
A Bougainvillean leader has accused Papua New Guinean Prime Minister Peter O’Neill of “undermining” the island’s 17-year-old peace agreement and the independence vote due next year.
Martin Miriori also condemned O’Nell for lacking sensitivity over Bougainville that struck a New Zealand-brokered peace agreement which ended a 10-year civil war and included a referendum vote on independence.
Miriori, a Panguna landowner and pro-independence leader, was reacting to a statement by O’Neill at the Business Forum in Brisbane last week and repeated in PNG’s The National newspaper that the vote was not about independence, but what was best for the people of Bougainville.
“When the prime minister comes out openly making such a statement in public, my view is that he is already undermining the good intentions and the spirit of the Bougainville Peace Agreement which, among other issues, clearly states that the issue of independence for Bougainville will be also among the options for a referendum vote to be taken by the people [in] June next year,” he said today in a statement.
“This is also the common understanding of the international community as well [as] including the United Nations,” Miriori said. “For the prime minister to water down the main focus on the independence issue at this time is simply a big slap on the face [of] the people of Bougainville.”
For the rest of this article: https://asiapacificreport.nz/2018/05/08/oneill-undermining-bougainville-peace-deal-vote-plan-says-miriori/