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Bougainville election results applauded

5 June 2005
Media Statement

Bougainville election results applauded

Successful completion of autonomous provincial government elections in Bougainville is an historic moment and cause for celebration, Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Marian Hobbs said today.

"The efficient and orderly conduct of the elections and the calm, peaceful manner in which voting proceeded, is testament to the efforts of all those wanting to ensure the people of Bougainville have a say in the future of their province," Marian Hobbs said. "This they have done with enthusiasm.

"The fact that voting took place in the Panguna mine area, where the conflict first arose in 1988 gives, in particular, a sense of Bougainvilleans' widespread commitment to the electoral process.

"All those involved should feel enormously proud of what has been achieved.

"It further cements the steady progress toward a sustainable peace and opens a new chapter in the development of a safe and prosperous Bougainville.

“I extend my congratulations and best wishes to President elect, Joseph Kabui. He faces no easy task in working to put the new Provincial Administration on its feet and to address the many challenges that Bougainville faces.

"We recognise Bougainville will need ongoing assistance in that task. I can assure President Kabui and the Papua New Guinea Government that New Zealand is committed to playing its part in that task.

"It's also worthwhile recognising the broader regional significance of the elections.

"They are a good example of how the United Nations, regional and other partners can work together with stakeholders in a conflict over a long period of time to achieve a peaceful resolution.

“While there is still work to be done, we should nevertheless celebrate what has been achieved in Bougainville."

NZAID provided two members of the election observer team and contributed $150,000 to the Pacific Forum and Commonwelath secretariat observer team.

ENDS

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