5-year timeline set for Bougainville's independence from PNG

Buka, Bougainville (PACNews)-- Autonomous Bougainville Government President, Grand Chief Dr John Momis has hinted a possible five year time-line to negotiate possible independence from Papua New Guinea for the people of Bougainville.

After casting his ballot, in the historical referendum vote Saturday, Dr Momis was ‘confident’ the outcome of the vote will be overwhelmingly in favour of choice No. 2 – to vote independence from PNG.

“Bougainville is on the verge of freedom and our dream is to liberate our people and help them to be free to decide and manage their own affairs and protect and promote the collective interests of Bougainvilleans.

“In principle we should not rush but allow for the time it deserves to get a good outcome and that will depend on the way the two governments apply themselves. From the example we’ve seen in the recent past, I think it should not take too long.

“Could be five years, as long as the final outcome is determined. It does not really matter how long it will take as long as the people are informed that without a government institution and human resource capacity, it is impossible to run a good democratic government, said Dr Momis.

If the people vote overwhelmingly in favour of independence, Dr Momis said the Bougainville Peace Agreement is quite clear, the National Government and the Bougainville Autonomous Government will negotiate an outcome agreed to by both Parties.

Speaking alongside PNG Minister responsible for Bougainville Affairs, Dr Puka Temu, the ABG leader urged the national government to adhere to the process in the Bougainville Peace Agreement.