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PNG Government to decide on Bouganville referendum
7:13 pm GMT+12, 13/02/2020, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Parliament was officially furnished the December 2019 Bougainville Referendum vote results of 98 per cent voting for independence.
 
Bougainville Affairs Minister Sir Puka Temu presented his ministerial statement in Parliament on Tuesday when it convened.
 
He gave a rundown on the results, the ratification process and the consultation program that is now being worked on.
 
Sir Puka also gave a summary of the work of the joint post-referendum ministerial taskforce after the vote results, which has dealt with some of the matters that were anticipated to take place after voting in the referendum had been completed.
 
He also highlighted some issues that the national government should now address as they come to terms with the referendum results.
 
“The national government and the Autonomous Bougainville Government are expected to offer guidance on the way forward.
 
“In doing so, it is important that leaders on all sides pay careful attention to what people are thinking and expecting regarding the future of Bougainville,” he said.
 
“I would like to state here, from the way I see the situation, that the Referendum result impacted both sides differently; it has united Bougainville, but – at the same time – it has also caused most learned and informed Papua New Guineans, including leaders, to have preference for a unified country.
 
“Therefore, it is absolutely vital that the national government continues to be closely engaged with Bougainville and be mindful of issues of national importance that hinge on the referendum outcome. The Autonomous Bougainville Government and other Bougainville leaders, likewise are answerable to the people of Bougainville.
 
“It is, therefore, also important that they scrutinise carefully the options that would be best for their side and Papua New Guinea as they give close and careful consideration to the most appropriate steps moving forward.
 
“The National Parliament is not duty-bound to accept the outcome at the first instance, but to receive the result, consider it and make the final decision.
 
“It has been two months since that referendum result was declared. I must add upfront that the referendum exercise was a historic event which took place from 23 November to 07 December.
 
“The right to vote included members of communities around Bougainville, Bougainvilleans in other parts of Papua New Guinea, as well as Bougainvilleans in Gizo and Honiara, Solomon Islands, and Cairns and Brisbane, Australia, " said Sir Temu.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS


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