Australia Welcomes Progress in Bougainville
Australia welcomes the conclusion reached
in Port Moresby on 23 March by the PNG Government and Bougainvillean
leaders (the Loloata Understanding) and is encouraged that the
parties have taken this significant step on the road to a negotiated
settlement of the Bougainville conflict.
The Loloata Understanding represents a valuable
framework for future negotiation. It is important that the momentum
now achieved will be maintained and that the parties will continue
to show the commitment and flexibility needed to reach a final
During my recent visit to Port Moresby for
the Australia-PNG Ministerial Forum, I had the opportunity to
discuss Bougainville with Prime Minister Morauta and members
of his government. The PNG Government acknowledged Australia's
contribution to the peace process through our leadership of the
Peace Monitoring Group and our aid program.
We remain firmly committed to working with
the PNG Government and the Bougainvilleans in advancing settlement
efforts. As I told the PNG Government at the Forum, Australia
will accept any settlement negotiated by the parties.