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The Papua New Guinea security forces and Bougainville veterans have given assurance that they would respect and honor the outcome of the Bougainville independence referendum to be held this month.
This assurance was directed particularly at the PNG Government, the Autonomous Bougainville Government and international partners and community.
The two parties made the assurance known in a “statement of commitment” signed by members of both parties, including government representatives and other stakeholders involved in the reconciliation ceremony held in East New Britain Province this week.
The parties further pledged their commitment to uphold the significance of the reconciliation ceremony and to endeavor for peace and prosperity now and into the future.
“We, the members of PNG security forces comprising of PNG Defence Force, Royal PNG Constabulary and Correctional Services jointly with the Bougainville veterans, uphold our Melanesian cultural values and practices of brotherhood, sincerely declare that we truly resort to reconcile with each other for the atrocities caused during the arm 1989 to 1997 Bougainville Crisis,” the document states.
“We jointly acknowledge that armed confrontation was a result of executing government decisions, we resolve not to have any personal grudges against each other.”
Both parties pledged their commitment with collective responsibilities to implement the Bougainville Peace Agreement and any other arrangements that would be created jointly by Bougainville and PNG government leaders. “We affirm our dual commitment to protect the State and the freedom and rights of citizens of all age groups and gender," the Statement of Commitment said.
“The parties took the bold step now uphold their values of Melanesian brotherhood and pledge on oath not to return to any armed conflict regardless of the referendum outcome.
“We acknowledge all the ministers and MPs of both National Government and ABG, Technical Committees of both governments, the East New Britain Provincial Government, National Parliamentarians and Administration officials, PNG Council of Churches representatives and all those that have witnessed this Joint Statement of Commitment (JSC) ceremony.”
The commitment was signed by n behalf of the PNG security forces by PNGDF commander, Major General Gilbert Toropo as well as Major General Jerry Singirok (Retrd), Commodore Peter Ilau, Colonel Siale Diro (Chief of Force Preparation), David Manning (Acting Commissioner RPNGC) while signatories for Bougainville veterans included Ishmael Toroama, Chris Uma, Donald Hamao Tato and Albert Punghau, ABG Minister for Peace Agreement Implementation.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
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