BUKA – Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape and Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama met in Port Moresby on Monday to lay the foundations for a successful meeting of the Joint Supervisory Body (JSB) in Kokopo later this month.
JSB is the formal body in which matters affecting the relationship between PNG and Bougainville are thrashed out.
Toroama said it was time the JSB resolved issues that have recurred on its agenda for the last 15 years.
“Nineteen years after the signing of the Bougainville Peace Agreement and 15 years after the formation of the Autonomous Bougainville Government these outstanding matters must be concluded so we can focus on the substantive matters of ratifying the referendum result,” he said.
Most of the unresolved issues concern the national government’s commitment to Bougainville in financial support, capacity building and development projects.
Toroama said this process has all but stalled and the matters need to be resolved before the next JSB meeting.
The meeting considered outstanding resolutions from previous JSB meetings including drawdown of powers, inter-government financing, transferring the PNG government’s shareholding in Bougainville Copper Ltd and Marape’s previous commitment to streamline the process for allocating funds to Bougainville in the national budget.
Both Marape and Toroama reaffirmed their obligation to the ongoing peace process and agreed to appoint a moderator to facilitate the post-referendum consultation process.
Toroama also presented a six-point plan outlining his political vision for Bougainville, covering independence, economic growth, administrative control, private sector and civil society mobilisation, long term planning, and international relations.