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NZ to contribute to Bougainville Transition Team

NZ to contribute to Bougainville Transition Team

New Zealand will contribute to a multinational team to help Bougainville through the next stage of its path to autonomy, Foreign Minister Phil Goff said today.

"The Bougainville Transition Team (BTT) will be an unarmed civilian group of approximately 15-17 people from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Vanuatu," Mr Goff said.

"It will replace the Peace Monitoring Group (PMG), which will cease operations on Bougainville on June 30 after nearly five years.

"This change-over represents an important new phase for the people of Bougainville in the on-going peace process.

"Weapons collection and containment is drawing to a close, and attention is turning to the community's economic and social development.

"A Bougainville constitution has been drafted and is being considered by the Papua New Guinea government while preparations are underway for the election of an autonomous government, as outlined in the Bougainville Peace Plan. "All Bougainvilleans can be proud of the progress made to date. Equally, New Zealand is proud to have been involved, along with our regional partners, from the beginning," Mr Goff said.

"The Australian-led transitional team will provide continued logistical and operational support to the United Nations Observer Mission on Bougainville (UNOMB) and will help with Bougainville’s transition to autonomous government.

"New Zealand will also continue to contribute to reconstruction and development on Bougainville. NZAID is supporting several projects in the areas of community development, law and justice, and capacity building for the Bougainville administration.

“The Peace Monitoring Group has played a vital role in the peace process. I look forward to Bougainville continuing its progress towards lasting peace and prosperity,” Mr Goff said.

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