Sir Peter praises ABG, Me'ekamui leaders' movePublished by MAC on 2007-09-04
Sir Peter praises ABG, Me'ekamui leaders' move
4th September 2007
SIR Peter Barter has welcomed and congratulated the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and Me'ekamui leaders on the announcement that leaders around Panguna have agreed to join in peace-building in Bougainville and support the ABG.
Sir Peter said: "This is truly good news. It means that peace and peace-building can finally be Bougainville-wide.
"It is exactly the breakthrough for which peace-loving people around Bougainville and the rest of Papua New Guinea have been hoping and praying for.
"It opens the way for a future in which people in Bougainville will be able to move around freely.
"It makes it possible for leaders and people on all sides to co-operate in restoring the services, reconstructing and improving the infrastructure, and working to realise the opportunities on which normalcy and development depend on."
Sir Peter was minister for Bougainville Affairs from 2002-2007, and a strong advocate and active worker for peace in Bougainville for many years before.
He said the latest announcement justified the patience with which successive National Governments and Bougainville leaders had been encouraging Me'ekamui leaders to reconcile with their sisters and brothers in Bougainville, and kept the door open for them to join in making, keeping and building peace.
"It brings Bougainville closer to the vision of unity and peace, which Bougainville leaders on all sides - including ABG President Joseph Kabui, the late Francis Ona, the late Theodore Miriung and many others - have had.
"The challenge now is for former combatants to lay down their arms; for members of different factions to reconcile; and for people around Bougainville to co-operate for the common good.
"This includes working together to make sure that the agreed autonomy arrangements operate as intended - so that Bougainvilleans have a real say in how they are governed, and good governance and an economy capable of sustaining autonomy are achieved.
"This is truly an historic moment. I congratulate and extend my very best wishes to everyone involved."