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Leaders hopeful of Bougainville agreement
8 January 2001
Bougainville Affairs Minister Moi Avei and key Bougainville leaders, including Governor John Momis and Bougainville People's Congress president Joseph Kabui, met in Buka on Friday and expressed confidence in reaching an agreement on autonomy and a referendum for Bougainville.
The leaders described their talks as constructive and showed a real willingness on both sides to find reasonable compromises.
Following the talks, Mr Avei said he would report back to Cabinet with a view to resume the talks later this month.
The technical officers will meet on Jan 22 and the leaders will meet on Jan 26.
"We are all aware that these negotiations would never be easy. But notwithstanding occasional strong words in the past, there is a real commitment to peace from the Bougainville leadership and from the Government," the leaders said in a joint statement yesterday.
The leaders said they were confident that Friday's outcome heralds a new start for the Bougainville talks, and renewed hope for the people of Bougainville and Papua New Guinea.
"We can see the signs of a real breakthrough on the referendum issue that resulted from a willingness of both sides to compromise in the interest of peace. We are looking forward to the next round of talks with genuine hope," Mr Momis and Mr Kabui said.