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President Toroama on BPA Anniversary

Today commemorates 21 years since the 2001 Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA) was signed between the Government of Papua New Guinea and the people of Bougainville to cease hostilities in the Bougainville Civil War.

Bougainville President Ishmael Toroama said the BPA is a joint creation between the GoPNG and the Autonomous Bougainville Government, which is an extension of the people of Bougainville.

President Toroama said the implementation of the provisions the Peace Agreement are focused on Weapons Disposal, Autonomy and Referendum for independence that both governments must adhere to and strive to implement.

“We have gone passed weapons disposal and we are nearing final stages of autonomy as Bougainville completes the referendum process by way of ratification by the National Parliament,” President Toroama said.

“The amendments to Part 14 of the Papua New Guinea Constitution gave way for the referendum for Bougainville’s independence. The amendment was a guarantee to appease the people of Bougainville’s yearning for self-determination and to end the hostilities,” President Toroama said.

“If the amendments to Part 14 of the PNG Constitution were never passed, the Bougainville Crises would never have been resolved. It was through compromise and a latent need for peace that allowed leaders from both sides to sign the Bougainville Peace Agreement,” President Toroama said.

Since the inception of the Autonomous Bougainville Government in 2005, there have been issues on the implementing the autonomous arrangements for Bougainville.
Most of these issues revolve around financial constraints and capacity issues to develop fiscal self- reliance and a more decentralized governance structure within the ABG.

The failure by the National Government to address these issues has further isolated the people of Bougainville that was evidently displayed during the 2019 Referendum where an overwhelming 97.7 percent opted for political independence from PNG.

Despite these shortfalls President Toroama is committed to Bougainville’s independence mission.

“We have gone passed the period of autonomy as Bougainville now prepares for independence through the consultations and roadmaps with the National Government,’’ President Toroama said.

“I remain optimistic of the future and look forward to building a positive relationship with the 11 th Parliament of Papua New Guinea as we implement the BPA to settle the Bougainville issue once and for all,’’ President Toroama said.

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