MEDIA RELEASE
MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS - ALEXANDER DOWNER

FA 20 - 24 March 2000

Australia Welcomes Progress in Bougainville Peace Process

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 settlement.

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.


Media contacts:  Minister - Innes Willox (02) 6277 7500
Department - Matt Francis/Julie McDonald (02) 6261 1555

Local Date: Tuesday, 07-Jan-2014 10:35:02 EST