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Media Statement: Bougainville is focused on referendum

The Autonomous Bougainville Government remains focused on uniting all Bougainvilleans to deliver a conducive environment for a peaceful referendum on the Bougainville’s future political status.

ABG President, Hon. Chief Dr John Momis reiterated his government’s commitment to consensus, consultation and unity following public concerns raised over a 60 Minutes (Australian Current Affairs show) episode aired over the weekend with a segment on Bougainville.

President Momis said the comments made in the program by Sam Kauona are misleading and do not represent the interest of government policy or greater Bougainville.

“The government’s interest lie in representing the interests of all Bougainvilleans. We have drawn a line under all discussions regarding the Panguna Mine until after the referendum,” he said.

“The ABG is the only legitimate and mandated authority to engage with any potential external partners and there will be no ‘backdoor deals’. The ABG will continue to put the best interests of the people above all else, and all major decision-making will continue to be done in a democratic and consultative manner between government and the people.”

President Momis also called on external media to be sensitive in their reporting of Bougainville during this critical period.

“We are all committed to a peaceful resolution of the past. While media plays an important role in this process, in a post-conflict environment I caution for sensitive and balanced reporting to avoid any public misinformation,” said Momis.

President Momis urged people to remain focused on the referendum and to work together with the government and the Bougainville Referendum Commission to ensure a credible and safe referendum is delivered.

“Bougainvilleans, we now have the rare opportunity to create something new. Let us stand strong and united in our beliefs and aspirations and show to the world that we are a peaceful people who can deliver a peaceful and credible referendum.”

“This is the year that the will of the people of Bougainville will be heard. We must speak with one voice all the way, not only to the ballot box but also in the post-referendum period.”  

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