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UN congratulates people of Bougainville on new autonomous Government

UN congratulates people of Bougainville on new autonomous Government

Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the Security Council paid tribute to the leaders and people of Papua New Guinea for fully implementing the peace agreement that ended long secessionist fighting and culminated today with the swearing-in of the new autonomous provincial government of Bougainville island.

The agreement was reached after a decade of island combat against Papua New Guinea ended in 1998.

"The Secretary-General extends his warm congratulations to President-elect Joseph Kabui and Members of the House of Representatives of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. He wishes them success in fulfilling the high hopes and aspirations of the people of Bougainville," Mr. Annan said through a spokesman.

"At the same time, the Secretary-General calls on all Bougainville leaders to respect the democratic choice of the people and to constructively cooperate with their legitimate new Government for the sake of a lasting peace and a prosperous future for all of the people of Bougainville."

The Security Council, in a statement read out in a formal meeting by its President for the month of June, Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sablière of France, welcomed the First General Elections for the President and Members of the House of Representatives held from 20 May to 9 June, as well as the inauguration today of "the Autonomous Bougainville Government in its full capacity."

Mr. Annan and the Council congratulated several institutions in the international community for their crucial support in helping to bring the Bougainville conflict to a peaceful end.

They both expressed pleasure that the UN made an important contribution to the peace process through its involvement in negotiating, mediating and facilitating the resolution of the conflict through the United Nations Political Office in Bougainville (UNPOB) and its successor – the United Nations Observer Mission (UNOB), as well as the UN Country Team.

"A small United Nations special political mission with a clearly defined mandate can make a critical contribution to a regional conflict resolution effort in an efficient and effective manner," the Council said.

The Secretary-General called on the donor community to provide further assistance to the autonomous Government in meeting its most pressing challenge – reconstruction.