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UN team to stay on in Bougainville in 2000
Postcourier - 22 Nov 99
THE United Nations Security Council has agreed to Papua New Guinea's request for the UN observer mission to remain in Bougainville for another year.
"The observer mission is there to support the peace process by encouraging all of the parties to honor the agreements they have signed, and holding them internationally accountable if they do not,'' Sir Michael, the Foreign Affairs Minister and Minister responsible for Bougainville, said.
"It works very closely with the Peace Monitoring Group in building mutual confidence on the ground.
The Director of the UN's observer mission, Ambassador Noel Sinclair, has been invited to act as the chairman of the Peace Process Consultative Committee there.
"He is working hard to finalise an agreed plan for weapons disposal through which the parties will co-operate to rid Bougainville of the guns which have caused so much suffering, loss and fear for innocent people,'' Sir Michael said. Acceptance and implementation of such a plan would help to create an environment for settling political differences by peaceful and democratic means.
Sir Michael said that leaders and people must remember that, like many other organisations, the United Nations was short of money and had many other pressing needs around the world.'' The Security Council's mid-year review in Bougainville next June would take a close and critical look at progress there.
"United Nations members will want to see real evidence that we are all - I stress all of the parties - are doing everything possible to help ourselves,'' he said. "They will want to see real progress towards making sure that the peace achieved over the last two years is becoming self-sustaining. We should, therefore, regard the extension and next year's review as a challenge to get on with building the peace, especially in the area where all of the parties have asked the United Nations to take a leading role - getting the guns out of the way, and making it possible for life in Bougainville to return to normal.'' The Peace Process Steering Committee will meet in Arawa on Friday this week to continue working on the proposed weapons disposal plan.
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