Govt happy to work with B’ville if time needed

National

THE Government is happy to work with the Bougainville government and referendum commission if there is need for extension of the referendum time, Prime Minister James Marape says
He said the Government saw the referendum and its outcome as work in progress.
Marape said the Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC) had written to the Government requesting for an extension of possibly six weeks.
“I’ve told them our government is committed to the dates that have been set already,” he said.
“If the ABG and the BRC feels that they need an extended time, especially to stage a very good voting occasion, then we will be happy to work with them.
“We will be going for the Bougainville Joint Supervisory Body meeting and when we go there, I believe those issues will be resolved.”
Marape said there was something called the Melanesian conscious which they will consider.
He said the voting process was prescribed in the 2001 peace agreement.
“In my time now, 19 years on, I’m not here to change any goal posts that were set,” Marape said.
“People in Bougainville have gone through a lot.
“We respect them and respect their choices.
“As we engage with them on the island, I’m sure we will be working with them on what is the deeper meaning of relationship with the rest of PNG, we will account to them.
“At this point in time, I’m not privileged to discuss further as to what will happen after the vote has taken place.
“We have not seen the vote yet and we don’t know what the outcome will be.”
He said that was something that belonged to those who would be participating in the vote.

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