United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today welcomed the decision by Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Vanuatu to dispatch a small civilian transition team to Bougainville after the group currently monitoring the peace process there leaves the Papua New Guinean island.
The outgoing Bougainville Peace Monitoring Group is expected to leave the island – which fought a 10-year war of independence against the archipelago before a ceasefire was brokered in 1998 – on 30 June. The election of an autonomous government is expected to take place before the end of the year.
“This decision demonstrates the continuing commitment of the countries in the region to support the desire of the people of Papua New Guinea, including Bougainville, for a peaceful and prosperous future,” UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said in a statement issued in New York.
Mr. Annan was pleased the new transition team would continue to provide logistical and operational support to the UN Political Office in Bougainville (UNPOB), the spokesman added.