Security Council calls for stepped-up efforts to remove arms from Bougainville

Security Council calls for stepped-up efforts to remove arms from Bougainville

Welcoming recent positive political developments Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, members of the Security Council today urged stepped-up efforts to remove weapons from the island, which fought a 10-year war of independence against the archipelago before a ceasefire was brokered in 1998.

“Members of the Security Council called upon all the parties to redouble efforts aimed at the removal of weapons from Bougainville communities, which is crucial for the process of post-conflict rehabilitation and peacebuilding, with assistance by the Government of Papua New Guinea,” said Ambassador Sergey Lavrov of the Russian Federation, the current President of the 15-member body.

“The success of the weapons collection efforts, which should continue without interruption in spite of the ongoing electoral campaign, would make it possible for the international community to provide the necessary economic assistance,” he added in a statement to the press.

The statement, issued following a closed-door briefing by Noel Sinclair, head of the UN Political Office in Bougainville (UNPOB), also welcomed action last month by the Parliament of Papua New Guinea, which passed a bill giving legal effect to a peace agreement signed in August 2001. According to the President, Council members recalled that that pact “has three pillars: autonomy, a referendum and a weapons disposal plan” and encouraged the parties to implement those provisions as soon as possible in order to achieve a definitive settlement of the conflict.

The statement also noted with appreciation the “important role” played by the UNPOB and by the Peace Monitoring Group. That Group, which works closely with UNPOB, comprises personnel from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Vanuatu.