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Chronology for Bouganvilleans in Papua New Guinea

Publisher Minorities at Risk Project
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Minorities at Risk Project, Chronology for Bouganvilleans in Papua New Guinea, 2004, available at: [accessed 25 May 2016]
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Date(s) Item
Feb 1990 Separatist rebels fatally shot a PNG soldier guarding cocoa plantations on the South Pacific island of Bougainville. In retaliation, PNG army killed about 20 militants in a helicopter attack, the fiercest in the 15-month rebellion. A state of emergency has been in force on the island since June 1989. About 200 public servants have been evacuated on the advice of the government. Together with the mines, the cocoa plantations joined the list of economic casualties after repeated attacks and the killing of workers forced them to close. Bougainville produces a third of PNG's cocoa exports, which totaled 30,000 tons in 1989. It was the mainstay of the Bougainville economy and provided 45% of its export earnings. About 70 people have died since the rebels started attacking the Australian-owned copper mine, the largest in the world, early last year to support their demand for compensation for land and environmental damage.
Mar 1990 The deteriorating situation led the PNG government to negotiate a cease-fire with the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA), to take effect from mid-March. Port Moresby agreed to withdraw its security forces and to release 80 detainees. The island came under the control of the BRA after the sudden departure of the security forces. In response, the government imposed an economic blockade against the island.
May 1990 The government intensified the blockade when banking, telecommunications and public services were suspended. The BRA, allegedly in response to the sanctions, proclaimed Bougainville's independence, renaming the island the Republic of Bougainville. The declaration, made by Francis Ona, a former miner and surveyor who also proclaimed himself the interim President, was dismissed by Port Moresby as unconstitutional and invalid.
Sep 1990 The PNG army invaded and occupied Buka, the small island at Bougainville's northern tip. 23 people were reported killed in the clash. The army was allegedly called in by local Buka chieftains who had fallen out with the BRA. Government troops on the island are supported by BRA dissidents calling themselves the Buka Liberation Front (BLF).
Jan 1991 The naval blockade was withdrawn and negotiations between representatives of the PNG government and of Bougainville took place in Honiara, capital of Solomon Islands. The discussions were facilitated by the Solomon government, the Pacific Council of Churches and the Solomon Islands Christian Association. The Honiara Declaration of Peace, Reconciliation and Rehabilitation of Bougainville stated that the government would not station forces on Bougainville if the islanders agreed to disband the BRA and surrender all prisoners and weapons to a multinational peace-keeping force. The rebels were guaranteed immunity from prosecution. The issue of independence was not addressed by the negotiators.
Apr 1991 By early March, it appeared that the accord had failed. Joseph Kabui, former Premier of the North Solomons Province (which includes Bougainville) allegedly signed the accord without full BRA support on issues, such as the surrender of arms. Government troops launched a major attack on Bougainville. A gunboat shelled Arawa, Bougainville's main coastal town. The PNG army also crossed the narrow strait from Buka to Bougainville, and established a toehold with the help of local chiefs opposed to the BRA. The Prime Minister was in China at the time and upon his return he accused the army of acting without his authority.
Jun 1991 Support for the rebel movement was consolidated at the national conference of the island's tribal chiefs, when unanimous approval was expressed for the independence of Bougainville.
Nov 1991 Further violence ensued on Bougainville and Buka when 34 BRA members were killed and six defense personnel injured. The government responded by sending more troops.
Mar 1992 PNG Commandos attacked a settlement in the Solomon Islands suspected of supplying fuel to Bougainville rebels.
Jul 1992 Paias Wingti, the new Prime Minister, who won office by a one-vote margin in the parliamentary election, announced the creation of a special ministry responsible for the troubled Bougainville Island. Wingti told reporters: "In view of the unresolved Bougainville crisis, it is the intention of my government to ensure that one minister is responsible for the entire trouble -- to minimize conflicting approaches (between departments) -- and that the government is fully briefed" (Reuters, 07/27/92). Michael Ogio, an MP from Bougainville and a member of Wingti's People's Democratic Movement (PDM), will be the Bougainville affairs minister.
Sep 1992 Papua New Guinea said it would apologize to the Solomon Islands for a raid on a village in which two people died. Prime Minister Wingti stated that his government would also pay compensation to the victims' families. Relations between the two countries broke down after the attack. The Solomon Islands are calling for third party mediation.
Oct 1992 Secretary General Boutrous-Ghali promised to send a fact-finding mission to the Solomon Islands following recent border incidents with PNG.
Jan 1993 The PNG army reported killing 9 BRA rebels at sea as they returned to Bougainville from the Solomon Islands. The BRA claimed the victims were unarmed civilians.
Mar 1993 The Minister for Bougainville Affairs has appealed to the public not to target civilians for abuse or mistreatment. The Minister stated that the recent killings of eight PNG soldiers had led to incidents of harassment against Bougainvilleans in Port Moresby. He said that some people had been mistreated and abused because they were being blamed for the latest BRA killings.
Apr 1993 PNG troops are reported to have raided the Solomon Islands at least four times early this month using military equipment and patrol boats supplied by Australia. Troops planted a Papuan flag on the island of Oema, about two miles inside Solomon territory, and said they were annexing the island to resettle Bougainville civilians (The Daily Telegraph, 04/13/93).
Jun 1993 PNG soldiers have been told they must allow the rebels to surrender "without fear of being killed". Paul Tohian, the PNG Minister for Defense, told his troops that their role is to help "pave the way for the mammoth task of reconciliation" and that they are not there "simply as a military exercise" (The Daily Telegraph, 06/23/93).
Jan 1994 The Solomon Islands government has announced the formation of a committee to register Bougainvilleans living in its territory. The Foreign Minister Francis Saemala told the Parliament that the Solomon Islands did not have a refugee and repatriation policy relating to Bougainvilleans (BBC, 01/22/94).
Mar 1994 The UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva has been informed that PNG helicopters have continued to attack villages in Bougainville and that soldiers were trading essential supplies to local people for sex. The claims were made by two Bougainvilleans who stated that they had recently slipped through the PNG blockade of the island to get to Geneva. Port Moresby has dismissed the allegations as BRA propaganda (BBC, 03/15/94).
Apr 1994 In a nine page statement, the Catholic Bishops Conference of PNG held in Port Moresby said that villagers are being "killed like pigs and buried like dogs" by untrained militiamen (pro-government Bougainvilleans), backed by the army as "payback" against rebel killings. The bishops have urged the government to disband the militia and replace them with a properly trained body, possibly the United Nations. They also appealed for more medicines to be sent to government-run "care centers" where an estimated 50,000, about a third of Bougainville's population, now live (AP Worldstream, 04/28/94). A commander of the Solomon Islands police field force has denied providing information to the PNG military about Bougainvilleans living in Solomon Islands who are allegedly aiding BRA rebels. A Port Moresby newspaper last week quoted PNG intelligence officials as saying prominent Bougainvilleans in Honiara were supplying guns and other materials to the rebels (BBC, 04/17/94).
Jun 1994 The rebels have renewed their call for peace, stating that they had already opened talks with the government. Rebel leader Francis Ona said his guerrillas had begun peace talks with unnamed "PNG representatives" in the Solomon Islands. However, he has not yet responded to suggestions for a Pacific islands peacekeeping force to help restore normalcy on the island while talks continue. "The possibility of a military solution being imposed is nil", asserted Stephen Loosely, an Australian MP who led a fact-finding delegation to Bougainville. "Secession cannot be won through military means" (AP Worldstream, 06/07/94).
Sep 1994 PNG Prime Minister Julius Chan, elected just five days ago, and the BRA military chief Sam Kauona signed a peace accord after two-day talks in Honiara. This was the highest level meeting between the two sides since the crisis began in 1989. The talks were presided over by Prime Minister Francis Billy Hilly of the Solomon Islands. The BRA and the government agreed to a truce until a complete ceasefire was reached. The accord also provides for a peace conference to discuss political issues before October 10, the establishment of a South Pacific Peacekeeping Force drawn from Tonga, Vanuatu and Fiji, and the lifting of the blockade imposed on the island (XNA, 09/02/94; The Washington Times, 09/04/94)).
Oct 1994 BRA leaders have pulled out of the peace conference held at Arawa on the island's east coast, fearing they will be arrested, according to the group's leader Sam Kaouna. The BRA have now demanded a complete withdrawal of PNG troops from the island as a condition for attending the conference. Australia expressed "disappointment" at the setback (XNA, 10/13/94).
Feb 1995 Gunmen opened fire on a commercial aircraft that flies to the island daily, killing a Bougainvillean civil servant and wounding a female passenger. The aircraft was hit as it took off from the Oria airstrip in southern Bougainville after dropping off medical supplies. As a result, all flights to Bougainville have been suspended. A government spokesman stated that BRA activities have escalated in recent weeks with two PNG soldiers being killed this month and numerous ambushes and attacks on the island (Reuters, 02/22/95).
Apr 1995 Hundreds gathered to witness the swearing-in of a new transitional government and the election of the former legal advisor to the BRA as its Premier. Theodore Miriung, who left the rebel stronghold in central Bougainville late last year, will now head a team to negotiate with the national government over the future political status of the island. The BRA's political arm, the Bougainville Interim Government, claimed the new body was a "puppet government" that did not have the full mandate of all the people. However, as a former adviser to the rebels who remained in touch with their leaders since leaving the stronghold, Miriung was widely endorsed by Bougainvillean leaders as the most credible candidate to pull the warring factions together (AP Worldstream, 04/10/95). The Prime Minister said during the swearing-in ceremony that the transitional government provided a forum for Bougainvilleans to participate in shaping the kind of society they wanted (AFP, 04/10/95).
Apr 20, 1995 Roman Catholic Bishops in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands have urged the BRA to join the newly established transitional government. Four of the seats in the 32 member transitional government are on offer to the rebels (BBC, 04/20/95).
May 1995 The National newspaper in Port Moresby reports that rebels of the BRA ambushed a Defense Force Patrol. In response, Chiefs of the Kieta-Arawa area have called on the Bougainville transitional government to take action (BBC, 05/02/95).
May 23, 1995 The Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) has rejected a government offer of an amnesty from prosecution. BRA spokesman Martin Miriori asserted that his organization would only cooperate with peace efforts if government troops were completely withdrawn from Bougainville (BBC, 05/23/95).
Jun 1995 The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, an advisory group comprised of members from Commonwealth countries, says that human rights on Bougainville Island have been severely neglected. A spokesman said that the Commonwealth should support humanitarian efforts for rehabilitation and to relieve the conditions of those who have suffered (Agence France Presse, 06/25/95).
Jun 27, 1995 The Australian government has linked $10 million of aid for Bougainville island to the eradication of continuing sporadic violence. Some analysts indicate that Australia's move might be seen as interference with the aim of securing the reopening of Australian mining operations on the island (Sydney Morning Herald, 06/27/95).
Jul 1995 Three soldiers, one rebel, and one civilian were killed at Oria in the southeast of Bougainville as violence flared again (Reuters, 07/21/95).
Aug 1995 Two soldiers, a policeman, and a rebel were killed while two soldiers were wounded in incidents at Arawa, the capital of Bougainville. The rebels are also reported to have set fire to Bougainville Premier Theodore Miriung's official vehicle and attempted to burn his residence. Commercial airline flights to Arawa have been suspended (Reuters, 08/21/95).
Aug 29, 1995 Reports indicate that the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) shot at a civilian helicopter. PNG's police minister, Castan Maibawa, says that all measures will be taken to protect Bougainville's air traffic (BBC, 08/29/95).
Sep 1995 The text of a proposed framework treaty on future relations between Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands has been finalized. The treaty did not however address the potential repatriation of some 2000 people who fled to the Solomon Islands to escape Bougainville's secessionist war (BBC, 09/05/95).
Sep 14, 1995 Peace talks between the BRA, the central government, and the Bougainville transitional government (which is supported by the federal government) concluded in Cairns, Australia, on a positive note. The leader of the transitional government in Bougainville, Theodore Miriung says that they could be the start of a genuine reconciliation (BBC, 09/14/95).
Sep 27, 1995 PNG's Prime Minister Sir Julius Chan says that Bougainville will always remain an integral part of the country (BBC, 09/27/95).
Oct 1995 One soldier and two BRA rebels were killed during a reported BRA ambush of a truckload of soldiers enroute to Buin in the island's south. Rebel commander Paul Bobby was also injured in the incident (Reuters, 10/05/95).
Oct 10, 1995 The commander of the PNG Defense Force, Brigadier General Tony Huai, has urged village chiefs and the leadership of the BRA to take control of the situation on the island. Huai's surprising move follows the renewal of violence on Bougainville. He also criticized the inability of the transitional government to ensure law and order. It is unclear whether the BRA or gun-toting hooligans are responsible for the recent violence. At Buin in the south, rebel threats forced more than 20,000 people to flee government care centers and enter the bush (Reuters, 10/11/95).
Oct 12, 1995 Theodore Miriung, the head of Bougainville's transitional government, has called upon PNG troops to stop behaving aggressively on the island as they are inflaming the situation. Miriung's comments are in response to recent criticism about the transitional government from PNG Defense Force Commander Tony Huai (see above entry) (BBC, 10/12/95).
Oct 20, 1995 The PNG Defense Force, in September, placed restrictions on the movement of ships between Bougainville's main island and the island of Buka. Residents are reportedly suffering from shortages of basic goods and medical supplies as all ships are held in Buka until they receive permission to sail from the security forces. The blockade was allegedly imposed following the burning down of government buildings at Soroken in northern Bougainville (BBC, 10/20/95).
Oct 24, 1995 A UN team is visiting Bougainville to investigate claims of human rights abuses by both the government and the BRA. During the seven year conflict, human rights organizations claim that both sides are guilty of summary executions, torture, and other human rights abuses (Reuters, 10/24/95).
Oct 27, 1995 The leader of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army, Francis Ona, has accused the PNG government of aborting meetings between a UN human rights investigation team and civilians and rebels on the island. The helicopter hired to take the UN team to Bougainville suddenly developed mechanical problems so the team returned to Port Moresby (BBC, 10/27/95).
Nov 1995 A proposed second round of talks on the future of Bougainville have been canceled. PNG Prime Minister Chan says the talks, scheduled for November 13, will not be held as the Bougainville rebels had no authority to invite the Commonwealth Secretariat or the UN to participate in the talks (BBC, 11/09/95).
Nov 20, 1995 A government district office at Watunai on the north central coast of Bougainville was burnt down in the middle of November. It was the third district post to be burned down in the past three months (BBC, 11/20/95).
Nov 27, 1995 The Foreign Minister of the Solomon Islands, Danny Philip, has denied allegations that he was involved in a secret arms deal for the Bougainville Revolutionary Army. A report in the Solomon Star newspaper implicates the Minister in a plan to smuggle gold bars from Bougainville to buy weapons for the BRA. The newspaper also asserts that the agreement would see the western part of the Solomons breaking away to join the Bougainville secessionists. Philip has threatened legal action unless he receives a public apology from the newspaper (BBC, 11/27/95).
Dec 1995 The National newspaper in Port Moresby reports that eight BRA members were reportedly killed in a gunbattle with security forces while four government troops died in a grenade attack in the southwest Siwai area of Bougainville. However, PNG authorities indicate that only three soldiers and one BRA member were killed while three soldiers were wounded (Japan Economic Newswire, 12/13/95; BBC, 12/14/95).
Dec 28, 1995 The Bougainville Interim government and its military arm, the BRA, have decided to merge. The agreement means that the Interim government will now "take responsibility for any politically inspired Revolutionary Army activity". Interim government vice-president Joseph Kabui says divisions have arisen on the island as a result of some unrestrained BRA activities in the past seven years. Kabui asserts that the merger is part of a general trend toward unification on Bougainville (BBC, 12/28/95).
Mar 20, 1996 Eleven police and soldiers were killed on Bouganville (BBC). The following day, the government ended a 10 month cease-fire (Reuters, 3/21/96)
Jun 4, 1996 As part of a major crackdown that has taken place since the March killing of police and soldiers, two Bougainville Revolutionary Army rebels were killed and one injured. (Reuters)
Jun 21, 1996 Thirty thousand villagers have fled the largest government offensive in eight years of war (dubbed Operation High Speed). Rebels reportedly hold 10% of the island. (The Age, Melbourne)
Jun 22, 1996 The BRA reported that 13 rebels were killed in clashes with government forces (Sydney Morning Herald)
Feb 1997 Amnesty International said the government was responsible for more than 40 deaths and disappearances in Bougainville in the last year. (Reuters, 2/26/97)
Mar 1997 The government ended its strategy, Operation High Speed, on Bougainville and has decided to hire mercenaries (Reuters, 3/3/1997). Rebels declared the capital after skirmishes near Arawa (Reuters, 3/4/1997), and the Prime Minister Sir Julius Chan stepped down amid scandal over the hiring of mercenaries to fight the BRA (Reuters, 3/26/1997).
May 1997 BRA commander Sam Kauona said an unofficial cease-fire was in place on Bougainville. The transitional government has been pushing for peace talks (Reuters, 4/3/1997). In late May, Interim Prime Minister John Giheno unveiled a peace plan that would increase local control over Bougainville and allow peace keepers on the island (Reuters, 5/29/1997)
Jun 1997 The BRA kidnapped MP John Momis while he was campaigning for the national elections scheduled for June 14th. The BRA has promised to disrupt elections, and they have not officially responded to the peace plan of Giheno. Momis was released a day after his kidnapping. (Reuters, 6/2/1997 and 6/3/1997)
Jun 4, 1997 Sir Julius Chan regained the office of Prime Minister (Reuters)
Jun 25, 1997 Polling was suspended last week in Arawa as the BRA opened fire in the streets. (Agence France Press)
Jul 1997 Talks were set to open in New Zealand between representatives of the Bougainville rebel groups. The government was not attending the talks, though two MPs later joined them. (The Press, New Zealand, 7/9/1997) The rebel factions agreed to jointly negotiate with the government and called for a UN peacekeeping force (South China Morning Post, 6/19/1997)
Jul 22, 1997 Bill Skate became Prime Minister (Asia Pulse). He announced his cabinet on the 24th and the approval of the Burnham declaration. He also visited the island of Bougainville, the first Prime Minister to do so since 1994.
Aug 1997 Bougainville returned to relative calm, except around Arawa. Some 500 rebels reportedly put down their arms. (AAP Newsfeed, 8/24/1997) Prime Minister Skate declared that independence for the island is not negotiable. (Asia Pulse, 8/28/1997)
Oct 10, 1997 A truce was signed between the government, BRA, and other Bougainvillean representatives. The agreement was reached after two weeks of negotiations at Burnham, New Zealand (AAP Newsfeed) The truce hoped to end the on-going secessionist conflict that began in 1988 over land rights and profits from the massive Panguna copper mine. (Agence France Press, 11/14/1997)
Oct 14, 1997 A transitional government official, Thomas Batakai, was shot dead upon returning from the peace meetings in New Zealand (Wellington Evening Post).
Oct 24, 1997 All military restrictions in Bougainville were lifted. Travel once again became free on the island, and an economic blockade in place since 1990 ended. (AAP Newsfeed)
Nov 18, 1997 Up to 150 New Zealand troops were to join soldiers from Australia, Fiji, Tongo and Vanuatu to compose the peace-keeping force on Bougainville. The 260 peacekeepers will be unarmed and will stay through the end of February 1998. (The Dominion, Wellington)
Nov 26, 1997 A week of talks in Cairn, Australia has resulted in the agreement to extend talks into January 1998. The BRA and its ally the Bougainville Interim Government will mmet with the PNG government in New Zealand. (Wellington Evening Post (WEP))
Dec 9, 1997 Over 200 peace monitors have arrived on Bougainville under the peace agreement between the government and BRA forces. They are mainly New Zealanders and other Pacific Islanders. (WEP)
Jan 23, 1998 A permanent ceasefire was agreed to and is to take effect January 30th. It provides for a phased withdrawal of government troops from Bougainville, disposal of all arms and ammunition, free and democratic elections for a Bougainville Reconciliation Government before the year's end and cooperation in restoring and developing the island. The was has been estimated to cost $2.5 billion over 10 years with the loss of 20,000 lives. (WEP, 1/24/98)
Jan 27, 1998 PNG Prime Minister Bill Skate issued and apology to the people of Bougainville for "pain, conflict, and suffering" caused by successive national governments over the course of the secessionist war. (Asia Pulse)
Jan 29, 1998 BRA leader Francis Ona did not attend the peace talks that resulted in the January 23rd peace agreement between Bougainvilleans and the PNG government. Observers say he is isolated from other Bougainvillean leaders. There is still a great deal of enmity between the two sides. (WEP, 1/29/98 and 4/9/98). Bougainville Copper Ltd. Said it was not counting on an early reopening of the Panguna copper mine. Panguna was the trigger for the 1998 rebellion on Bougainville after land owners demanded $10 billion in compensation and complained of environmental damage caused by the mine. (Asia Pulse)
Mar 3, 1998 Prime Minister Skate was involved in a bribery scandal and was making moves to change the constitution to secure himself from dismissal. He also announced plans to introduce laws setting up an independent commission against corruption that would be chaired by the Prime Minister and have all members elected by parliament after general elections. (Agence France Presse)
May 2, 1998 Francis Ona threatened to shoot peace monitors who entered his "no go" zones. The Interim Government Vice President Joseph Kabui and Commander in Chief of the BRA Sam Kauona signed the official ceasefire with the PNG government yesterday. Ona's support on Bougainville is limited to a few hundred fighters around his home village. (WEP)
May 30, 1998 In an unsigned press release, the BRA threatened to pull out of the peace process. Some BRA leaders are unhappy with the recently signed Matakana and Okataina Understanding which was signed by Bougainvillean leaders and the PNG government April 22nd. The Understanding is supposed to facilitate future negotiations over issues of governance of the island. (Asia Pulse)
Jun 17, 1998 PNG's Bougainvillean Affairs Minister Sam Akoitai was appealing to the UNDP (United Nations Development Program) for international aid in helping to restore services and infrastructure on the island. Australia has committed $A100 million over the next five years. Francis Ona continued to refuse to back the ceasefire agreement (Asia Pulse)
Oct 1, 1998 Elections to establish a Reconciliation Government on Bougainville were to have taken place before the end of the year, but are unlikely to be scheduled. The Bougainville Interim Government has warned the national government that it should not try to impose any agreements on Bougainville without first consulting other parties in the peace process (Asia Pulse).
Apr 23, 1999 The national government and Bougainville leaders agreed to put aside factional differences and work more closely to determine the political future of Bougainville under the Understanding signed a year ago. Elections are set for the 24th for Bougainvilleans to elect representatives to negotiate with the PNG government on the future of the island. (Asia Pulse)
May 31, 1999 Joseph Kabui was elected president of the newly established Bougainville People's Congress, a peace forum organized by island leaders to help with the peace process. The peace process has been stalled since December when the national parliament failed to muster a quorum to pass legislation needed to create the reconciliation government. (WEP)
Jun 28, 1999 Six minister resigned from Prime Minister Skate's cabinet to join other parties, primarily Sir Mekere Morauta's People's Democratic Movement. (Asia Pulse)
Jul 1999 Prime Minister Skate resigned, but said he would run again in the 2002 elections. Morauta was elected the new Prime Minister (Asia Pulse, 7/12/99 and 8/2/99). Bougainville leader Joseph Kabui welcomed the election of Morauta and paid tribute to Skate for his leadership in the peace process. He also hoped that the new government would continue to support the peace process (BBC, 7/15/99).
Aug 10, 1999 Francis Ona's forces were said to be prepared to join the peace process. Ona, though no longer a major player on the island, is still seen as necessary to the long-term success of peace in Bougainville (Canberra Times).
Oct 15, 1999 The Bougainville People's Congress (BPC) Chair Joseph Kabui said that arms disposal would not take place until there is a government guarantee that a referendum on independence for the island had been agreed to. He said that though the rebels had agreed to greater autonomy in the interim, it was not a lasting solution. (BBC)
Nov 30, 1999 BPC's Vice President James Tanis warned that peace on the island could collapse if the national government insisted on implementing reforms of the provisional government. A decision by the Supreme Court that the Bougainville rebel's suspension of the provisional government was illegal has worried Bougainvilleans. Foreign Minister Sir Michael Somare said the Court ruling means that regional MP for Bougainville John Momis was now the provincial premier-elect. He also said that the BPC insistence on a referendum of independence for Bougainville was not an option under PNG law. The rebels reiterated that PNG must make special arrangements for Bougainville and they complained that the peace process has moved slowly under new Prime Minister Morauta. (BBC)
Jan 14, 2000 The local Bougainvillean government is said to be in disarray. Local MP elections were not held as scheduled in 1997, and there are not enough elected officials to form a provincial executive (BBC).
Mar 24, 2000 International peace monitors were still on Bougainville. The National government agreed to a referendum on independence for Bougainville. Called the Loloate Understanding, the agreement would first establish, under PNG law, a Bougainville Interim Provincial Government which would be allowed time to function and be evaluated by the people. Then, an elected but autonomous provincial government with wider powers would be elected. The process was expected to take years, but is seen as a major step forward in lasting peace. The agreement also acknowledged that Bougainville will need fiscal and personnel resources and will receive funds for reconstruction, restoration and development activities (AAP Newsfeed, 3/24/00 and BBC, 3/27/00).
Mar 30, 2000 The Bougainville Interim Government was inaugurated in Buka. Governor John Morris and the Interim Provisional Assembly were sworn-in during a day-long ceremony attended by representatives of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, France, Japan and the United Nations. (AAP Newsfeed)

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