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UN welcomes setting of Bougainville referendum date

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The United Nations in Papua New Guinea has congratulated the governments of PNG and Bougainville for confirming a date for the independence referendum.

In a statement the UN said the referendum will give the people of Bougainville the opportunity to express their opinion on the future political status of the autonomous Region of Bougainville, as guaranteed in the 2001 Peace Agreement.

A meeting of the Joint Supervisory Body last week set the poll to start from 12th October this year.

The UN Resident Coordinator, Gianluca Rampolla, said the decision highlighted again the strong commitment of the two governments to work together to continue to support peace in Bougainville.

He has also welcomed the supervisory body engaging with the Post-Referendum Planning Taskforce.

The UN said it will continue to partner with both governments, recognising that the referendum is a very important step in the process, to be followed by a consultation phase between the two governments before the National Parliament exercises its final decision-making authority.

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