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Pre-reconciliation dialogue begins in Kokopo

The national pre-reconciliation program that began today in Kokopo, East New Britain province, is part of a larger process of reconciliation between State and Bougainville veterans.

Acting Secretary for the ABG Department of Peace Agreement Implementation, Dennis Kuiai, explained this process saying that this event in Kokopo is not the actual reconciliation, but rather, a dialogue between the two parties ahead of the main reconciliation which is being planned to happen in Panguna.

“This pre-reconciliation is more like a preparatory stage of the national reconciliation that we are planning to have immediately after the conduct of the referendum,” he said.

The Bougainville Veterans have been conducting internal reconciliations which resulted in the unification of all factions within Bougainville.

This internal unification of all Bougainville factions was one of the key outcomes of the July Veterans Summit in Panguna, which saw the unification of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army, Bougainville Resistance Force, Buka Liberation Front and the Me’ekamui.

ABG Member for Selau and Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Referendum, Hon. Joseph Watawi said this important event that began today, promotes unification and the Bougainville Veterans’ intention to extend this partnership and unification with the National Security Forces.

Bougainville Veteran leader, Ishmael Toroama, reaffirmed this saying that the Bougainville Veterans are committed to maintain peace under the principle of peace by peaceful means of the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

Mr Toroama said he hopes that this process that they have begun, gives confidence and courage to Bougainvilleans especially the younger generation.

The ABG and Veteran Leaders further thanked the East New Britain provincial government and its people for hosting this significant event on neutral ground.

The East New Britain province has been chosen to host this event because of its historic involvement in the Bougainville process during and after the conflict, and is seen as neutral ground for both parties to come together to dialogue.

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