The National – Thursday, February 17, 2011
By JEFFREY ELAPA
A HIGH-level PNG and Bougainville Joint Supervisory Board (JSB) meeting aimed at reviewing the Bougainville peace process and autonomy started at the Holiday Inn in Port Moresby yesterday.
Among some of the issues to be discussed are the transfer of powers, national government grants, restoration and disarmament processes.
They are being reviewed after the first meeting in Milne Bay in 2008.
The meeting will be co-chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Works Minister Sam Abal and Autonomous Region of Bougainville president John Momis.
Although the programme started on Monday, the actual review and JSB meeting started yesterday with the signing of several MoUs and joint signing of the resolution by the co-chairs today.
State ministers present were Peter O’Neill (Finance and Treasury), Paul Tiensten (National Planning), Sir Arnold Amet (Justice and Attorney-General), Moses Maladina (Public Service), Francis Potape (Transport and Administrative Services), John Pundari (Mining), while Minister for Bougainville Affairs Fedelis Sesemo joined later in the day.
Also present were MPs from Bougainville, ABG ministers, chief secretary, departmental heads and senior bureaucrats.
In his opening remarks, Abal said Bougainville was a major issue for both the national and Bougainville governments.
He said this year was a year for implementation and that both governments needed to make some progress to achieve major milestone under the peace agreement processes.
However, he said so much had been achieved, and therefore, everyone should thank God for the positive results so far.
Meanwhile, Momis said intellectual encounters like the JSB was essential to find concrete and tangible result to the Bougainville crisis.
He said Bougainville peace agreement was not an isolated case that should only be solved by Bougainville but it was
a bilateral system that could find way out to address the issue by all intellectuals from both PNG and Bougainville.
Momis said people had suffered long enough and therefore, his government was committed to achieve results for Bougainville and most of those will be addressed in the JSB meeting which is likely to review agendas discussed earlier.