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aussie
21-09-2002, 11:52 PM
MEDIA RELEASE
MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
ALEXANDER DOWNER

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AA 02 059 20 Sep 2002

Australia to Further Support Bougainville Peace Agreement

Australia will support the next phase of the Bougainville Peace Agreement by providing funds to assist with the establishment of a Constitutional Commission.

The Commission will be broadly representative of the Bougainville community and report to a representative constituent assembly that will decide on and adopt the final constitution.

This process will ensure that the people of Bougainville have a say in shaping the way they are governed and how their autonomy will be implemented.

The Government of Papua New Guinea will provide $150,000 to assist the Commission and Australia will match this through logistical, technical, and financial support. Australia will also provide $70,000 for key reconciliation meetings and to facilitate weapons disposal awareness.

Funding will also be provided to ensure that Radio Bougainville continues to operate effectively, keeping the people of Bougainville informed about progress on the peace process.

The agreed arrangements for Bougainville autonomy provide for the establishment of an autonomous Bougainville government able to assume responsibility for a wide range of powers, functions and control over staff and funds within the framework of the Papua New Guinea Constitution.

This will only take place when stage two of the agreed weapons disposal plan has been achieved.

Australia has been a long-standing supporter of the peace process in Bougainville. Australia has contributed $133 million since 1991 for peace-building and reconstruction work and leads the multinational Peace Monitoring Group, which reports on compliance with the peace agreement and assists the weapons disposal process.

Contacts
Chris Kenny (Mr Downer's Office) 0419 206 890
Jo Elsom (AusAID) 02 6206 4960 / 0412 804 489