B’ville independence date set

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BOUGAINVILLE President Ishmael Toroama has set Sept 1, 2025, as the tentative date for the declaration of independence for the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. He told the House of Representatives that the Bougainville position had been tabled at the Kokopo consultation which detailed a five-year timeline from this year to 2025. “Each year comprises a number of key milestones to be achieved with independence fully declared during 2025 and with Sept 1 as the date for the declaration,” he said. “The Kokopo resolutions now provide the strategy for both parties to consult over the Bougainville position through the coming consultations. “This will need careful analysis and planning going forward.” Toroama said another achievement was the signing of a joint communiqué, which basically recognised the historical journey undertaken by the two governments under the Bougainville Peace Agreement and committed the two governments to jointly consult on the referendum results for independence. “The Sharp Agreement, which was signed on May 13, does away with the constitutional requirements under section 295 (a) and (b) regarding the transfer of powers and functions under the autonomous arrangements,” he said. “This paves the way for the consultations to focus on the political agenda while the administration deals with the implementation of the remaining powers and functions.”