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A new type of government must emerge in Bougainville after the upcoming referendum, says the former head of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army, Sam Kauona.
People from the autonomous Papua New Guinea region enter into a two-week period of polling this Saturday for a non-binding referendum on independence.
The result is subject to ratification by PNG's Parliament.
A period of consultation between PNG and the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) is expected to take place first, after the count.
While uncertainty remains over how long this will take, Bougainville is also due for local elections next year.
However, Kauona said a transitional type of government should take over from the ABG.
“A transitional government to lead us into the future Bougainville government, which all the factions will have to come under, will have to be drawn into the new system. It's not ABG government in the future, it's totally a different government of Bougainville.”
Kauona said an independent Bougainville would also welcome investors from all countries, not just China.
As long as foreign investors adhered to laws that would protect the resource owners of Bougainville, he said, they were welcome.
Kauona, who is seeking to be the leader of Bougainville from next year, recently announced he had received overtures from the Chinese private sector looking to help develop Bougainville's natural resources.
“No one can come in without having good laws, protecting both interests, local interests and investor interests. That's why Chinese are welcome - Japanese, Americans, Australians, New Zealanders - all welcome.”
Confident of a strong majority vote for independence,Kauona also said he and many other resource owners wanted the Panguna copper mine reopened soon.
With Bougainville Copper Limited estimating there are US5$8-billion worth of mineral reserves still to be tapped, Kauona said the mine would bankroll a new independent Bougainville.
SOURCE RNZ PACIFIC/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
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