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Papua New Guinea: Security Council urges efforts to remove arms from Bougainville

Papua New Guinea: Security Council urges efforts to remove arms from Bougainville

Members of the United Nations Security Council today urged renewed efforts to remove weapons from Bougainville, an island in Papua New Guinea which fought a 10-year war of independence against the archipelago before a ceasefire was brokered in 1998.

In a statement to the press, the Council's current President, Ambassador John D. Negroponte of the United States, welcomed recent moves in the country, including the Government's stated intention to accord national priority to peacebuilding in Bougainville.

Ambassador Negroponte recalled that the Bougainville Peace Agreement, signed in August 2001, has three elements: autonomy, a referendum and a weapons disposal plan. Council members, he said, "encouraged the parties to work together to implement these provisions as soon as possible in order to achieve a definitive settlement of the conflict."

Particular emphasis was placed on the agreed weapons disposal plan, which the President stressed must be carried out "in full and on time." He added that the members called for redoubled efforts "without interruption" to achieve this end.

Noting the importance of international aid in support of the Bougainville peace process, Council members urged the world community to remain mobilized in this respect, according to the statement.

Ambassador Negroponte also voiced the appreciation of Council members for "the important role played by the United Nations Political Office in Bougainville as well as the Peace Monitoring Group of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Vanuatu."

The press statement followed a closed-door briefing on Bougainville by John Renninger, the Director of the Asia and Pacific Division of the UN Department of Political Affairs.