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Goff to attend historic Bougainville peace signing


Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Media Statement

29th August 2001

Goff to attend historic Bougainville peace signing


New Zealand Foreign Minister Phil Goff leaves today to witness tomorrow's historic signing of the Comprehensive Settlement for Bougainville on Arawa in Bougainville.

Mr Goff will lead a delegation including Georgina te Heuheu representing the Opposition, representatives of the Defence forces, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, NGOs and other individual New Zealanders who have made significant contributions to the peace process in Bougainville.

The Comprehensive Settlement includes an agreement covering autonomy arrangements, a referendum on independence within 10 to 15 years following the installation of an autonomous Bougainville government and a phased implementation of a weapons disposal plan.

"The Bougainville Peace Agreement is very much a creation of both sides. However special mention must be made of the efforts of the Papua New Guinea Minister of Bougainville Affairs, Moi Avei.

"Despite setbacks from time to time, the Minister pressured both the Bougainvillean leadership and his Cabinet colleagues in Port Moresby to keep negotiating and not to let the prize slip from their grasp when it was so close.

"New Zealand is pleased to have played a part in the events leading up to tomorrows signing. New Zealand hosted talks between the parties to the conflict in Burnham in 1997 and at Lincoln in 1998.



"I pay tribute to the New Zealand Defence force which spearheaded the Truce Monitoring Group established following these talks.

"The Australian Government has played a key role and has provided the leadership for the Peace Monitoring Group (PMG) which replaced the Truce Monitoring Group. New Zealanders, Fijians and ni-Vanuatu have also made their contributions to the PMG.

"The signing of the Agreement is a time for a new beginning for Papua New Guinea and the people of Bougainville. There is a need for reconciliation and healing. There is also the need for commitment to a future based on justice, cooperation and the rebuilding of trust between peoples," said Mr Goff.

The Minister will also make a brief visit to East Timor as the constituent assembly elections begin there. He will meet with members of the New Zealand election observer team and New Zealand Defence force.

ENDS

Itinerary
(note all times listed are local – PNG and East Timor are 2 hours behind New Zealand)

Wednesday 29th August (Wellington/Port Moresby)
1000 Depart Wellington.
1650 Arrive Port Moresby

Thursday 30th August (Port Moresby/Bougainville/Port Moresby/Darwin)
0550 Depart for Bougainville
1000 Arrive at Arawa
1030-1230 Signing ceremony etc.
1600 Depart for Port Moresby
1930 Depart Port Moresby for Darwin
2400 Arrive Darwin

Friday 31st August (Darwin/East Timor/Darwin)
0800 Depart Darwin
0930 Arrive Suai
1200 Depart Suai
1230 Arrive Dili
1800 Depart Dili
PM Arrive Darwin then return to New Zealand over the weekend.


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