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Papua New Guinea’s Bougainville independence referendum talks to be set in November

Residents hold a Bougainville flag at a polling station during a non-binding independence referendum in Arawa, on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville, 26 November 2019 (Photo: Reuters/Melvin Levongo). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

PORT MORESBY, Sep 9, 2020, RNZ. The schedule for consultations on the outcome of Bougainville’s independence referendum will be set in November, Papua New Guinea’s parliament has heard, Radio New Zealand reported.

This was revealed today by the minister for Bougainville Affairs, Sir Puka Temu, in response to questions without notice from the MP for Central Bougainville, Sam Akoitai.

Akoitai asked the minister what progress had been made in the consultations over the result of the 2019 referendum, in which 98 percent backed independence from PNG.

Sir Puka said although the Joint Supervisory Body overseeing consultations had taken a break during the Bougainville elections, “technical teams” had been meeting regularly.

When a new government was formed in the Autonomous Region under a new president, consultations would be able to recommence, he said.

“After they are all sworn in and they are all briefed, I think after the budget session in November, we will have the first Joint Supervisory Body meeting where we will agree to the consultation timetable during the 2021 period.”

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