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Australia welcomes 'Cairns commitment'



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M EDIA RELEASE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALEXANDER DOWNER

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FA143 25 November 1997

AUSTRALIA WELCOMES "CAIRNS COMMITMENT"

Australia warmly welcomes the Caims Commitment on Implementation bf the Agreement Concerning the Neutral Regional Truce Monitoring Group (TMG) for Bougainville. Endorsed by all parties to the Bougainville conflict at the conclusion of talks in Caims, the proposed agreement will enable the deployment of the neutral TMG to Bougainville.

The Commitment, endorsed by all parties to the Burnham Truce, is most reassuring as it declares the bodies and groups represented will

. ensure the TMG is safe at all times from attack, interference or hindrance

. provide all possible assistance to the TMG in performance of its mandate and

. urge all other bodies, groups and persons under their authority to do the same.

The Commitment also declares that a Peace Consultative Committee will be established to facilitate consultation and liaison among themselves; with the TMG; and at the local level. All parties to the Burnham Truce will be represented on the Committee.

The current peace process has involved a series of meetings aimed at building confidence between the parties. They appear to have made solid progress in this regard during their discussions in Caims. Obviously, there are political issues which remain to be negotiated.

The Caims Commitment expressed participants’ sincere appreciation to the people and Governments of Australia, New Zealand and the Solomon Islands for their continued support and assistance to the peace process.

During his address to the opening session of the talks, PNG Minister for Bougainville Affairs Mr Akoitai, thanked Australia for hosting the meeting and for agreeing to participate in the TMG.

The hosting of these talks reflects the very strong support we have provided to the Bougainville peace process so far. The Australian Government, with the assistance of the ADF, arranged the movement of all the delegates to these talks. We have committed $100 million over five years for reconstruction and rehabilitation in Bougainville province.

LOS ANGELES 25 NOVEMBER 1997

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY

Media releases and speeches are available from DFAT via the internet, http://www.dfat.gov.au/