The National, Friday 16th December 2011
By JACOB POK
RIVAL justice ministers Sir Arnold Amet and Dr Allan Marat have agreed to bring their factions together for talks to resolve the current political impasse.
Yesterday’s announcement was the first real sign that the four-day deadlock between Sir Michael Somare and Peter O’Neill would be settled on the negotiation table.
In other major developments yesterday:
nO’Neill’s lawyer filed court proceeding to stop Sir Michael from performing his duties as prime minister;
nMoves were under way to cut power and water to Parliament House;
nO’Neill flies in extra police to take over state assets which are currently in the Somare faction’s hands;
nChurches offer to mediate a compromise between the two factions; and
nThe trade unions urge Sir Michael and O’Neill to sign a truce within 48 hours or unions nationwide will go on strike.
In a live debate on Radio Australia yesterday with Marat, Sir Arnold said it was in the best interest of the people and good governance that bi-partisan talks be held.
Sir Arnold said: “My brother Marat and I are both responsible leaders with moral and ethical values and would make sure this situation is settled.”
Sir Arnold had been sworn in as justice minister and attorney-general at the Somare camp and, likewise, Marat at the O’Neill camp this week.
Both men agreed to advise their respective leaders to hold talks in an effort to break the deadlock.
Sir Arnold said it was in the best interest of the people and good governance that bipartisan talks start.
Marat said he would tell O’Neill that dialogue was important at this stage.
But both men maintained their grounds on the legitimacy of their own groups.