Bougainville leader notes progress, says more to do

Bougainville President John Momis and PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill at JSB meeting Picture: SUPPLIED

Bougainville’s President says momentum is buidling toward better engagement with Papua New Guinea over next year’s planned referendum on possible independence.

This comes after a critical meeting last week in Arawa of the Joint Supervisory Board, or JSB, which oversees the implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

However, John Momis said there are still key issues to settle.

Among the issues, the national government is yet to name two people to sit on the Bougainville Referendum Commission, alongside two Bougainvilleans and the former Irish prime minister Bertie Ahern, who is the chair.

Mr Momis said another JSB meeting later this month will agree on the question or questions to be put in the referendum, and in the meantime both parties are seeking legal advice to ensure they comply with the Constitution.

He said progress on funding will allow the registration of voters in Bougainville and those living in other PNG provinces.

President Momis said a truly free and fair referendum will depend on an accurate roll providing all voters with the right to vote.