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Australian to assist policing on Bougainville



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M E D IA RELEASE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALEXANDER DOWNER

AA27 30 April 1998

AUSTRALIA TO ASSIST POLICING ON BOUGAINVILLE

I am pleased to announce the Australian Government has taken another step to fulfil its commitment to help the Papua New Guinea Government and Bougainville parties to achieve peace on Bougainville.

Australia has committed $250,000 through AusAID to a Civilian Policing project in the Arawa region. The project will provide training for Auxiliary Police and will deliver a very tangible dividend from the peace process to the people of Bougainville.

Restoring civilian authority on Bougainville is critical to the achievement of sustainable peace on the island. Under the Lincoln Agreement, parties agreed to the phased withdrawal of the PNG Defence Force subject to the restoration of civilian authority. The maintenance of law and order is also fundamental to normalising

day-to-day life. Restoring civilian authority on Bougainville has been accorded an extremely high priority by all groups.

The six-week training course will be provided to members of the recently formed Arawa night police patrol. The patrol is comprised of former Bougainville Revolutionary Army and Resistance combatants, along with civilians. The training

will be supported by an Australian and a New Zealand adviser. This training includes instruction in conflict resolution, communication and mediation skills.

This assistance follows a request from the Papua New Guinea Government and is in addition to Australia's five year $100 million reconstruction and rehabilitation program on Bougainville that I announced last year.

BOUGAINVILLE

Media contacts: Innes Willox (Minister’s office) 02 6277 7500/0411 414 695 Carol Haffke (AusAID) 02 6206 4966/0417 683 767