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European Union delegation on two day visit in Bougainville

A delegation from the European Union (EU) arrived today in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

The delegation led by Deputy Secretary General of the EU, Jean-Christophe Billiard, and accompanied by EU Ambassador to PNG, Jernej Videtic, will be in Bougainville for two days.

ABG Acting President and Minister for Public Service, Hon. Robert Hamal Sawa in welcoming the delegation, thanked the EU for this timely visit at a very historic period for Bougainville.

“Your presence in Bougainville will create a lot of impact for our people and we are looking forward to that,” Sawa said.

“I want to acknowledge the on-going support shown during Bougainville’s peace process. We want to work together as we’ve done before in the restoration period and in the coming post-referendum period.”

“Our people are excited about the referendum process, we have done a lot of awareness with all stakeholders throughout the region and we are looking forward to the outcome.”

In responding, Deputy Secretary General, Jean-Christophe Billiard, explained that the EU is aware of the history of Bougainville and that they are keeping a close eye on the referendum planning and preparations.

“We the EU, are following it [referendum] very carefully, we hope and we have no doubt that the referendum as such will be smooth and peaceful,” he said.

He explained that a key focus for this visit will be to gain a better understanding and awareness of what is happening in Bougainville.

Billiard said the EU has plans for development programs for Bougainville in economic and social development, agriculture and education sectors.

The delegation will be meeting with ABG Ministers and Members, including the Chairman of the Parliamentary Referendum Committee, Hon. Joseph Watawi. They will also have an audience with the acting Chief Secretary to the ABG and the acting Secretary of the Department of Peace Agreement Implementation. Tomorrow they will travel to Chabai to meet with Sr Lorraine Garasu at the Nazareth Center for Rehabilitation. 

The delegation had met with ABG President Hon. Chief Dr John Momis in Port Moresby earlier this week. 

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