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Aus Police Deny Plans to Attack No-Go Zone

Forwarded from PNGSA list

Australia rejects claims of planned attacks in Bougainville

Radio Oz, 15 Dec 04

Australia's Justice Minister has rejected claims that police on Bougainville are planning any attacks on the "no go zone" controlled by the secessionist leader, Francis Ona.

Documents circulated on Bougainville by Mr Ona's government in recent weeks have claimed Australia is planning attacks on the area around the former Panguna Copper Mine.

But Chris Ellison has rejected the claims, saying there are no plans to interfere with the no-go zone.

"Well any report that we're going to attack the no go zone is entirely untrue, that's certainly not the way we do business," he said.

"Our record shows that in East Timor, in the Solomons, and here in Bougainville, where our police are unarmed.

"But we do say in relation to the bearing of firearms, the desirable scenario is not to have firearms in the community, except for essential purposes."

PNG endorses new constitution for Bougainville

Last Updated 15/12/2004, 09:22:53

Papua New Guinea's cabinet has endorsed the proposed constitution for Bougainville's new autonomous government.

The constitution will be forwarded to PNG's Governor-General, and after receiving his assent, it will be published in PNG's National Gazette, triggering the formation of the island province's new government.

PNG's Bougainville Affairs Minister, Sir Peter Barter, says cabinet's decision to endorse the document was unanimous.

He says it is now up to Bougainvilleans to ensure their new government succeeds.

"Now that ball's in their court, and they're going to have to turn around and produce the goods," he said.

"And destroy the remaining weapons, and then go for their elections, which we hope will take place next April or May.

Ministers to inspect AFP's work in PNG

Last Update: Tuesday, December 14, 2004. 10:03am (AEDT)

Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer and Federal Justice Minister Chris Ellison will travel to Papua New Guinea (PNG) today to see first hand the work of Australian police stationed there.

Mr Downer and Senator Ellison will be accompanied by Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty when they visit some of the Australian Federal Police deployed to patrol the streets of Port Moresby and Bouganville.

They will also attend the annual ministerial forum with their PNG counterparts.

Senator Ellison says the Government is hoping to increase Australia's presence in the troubled nation next year.

"We aim to build up that deployment to over 200 in the following year. This is a very important deployment," he said

"The mission, of course, is to restore law and order to New Guinea and to provide some capacity building to the police there and training."

The visit will also be the first leg of Mr Downer's annual pre-Christmas tour of several Pacific Islands.

It was at last year's ministerial forum at Mount Lofty, south-east of Adelaide, that Australian ministers and their counterparts in PNG agreed to push ahead with the $800 million Enhanced Cooperation Program.

The program resulted in Australian policemen on the beat in Port Moresby.

This year's ministerial forum will be held in Lae, where Mr Downer will also inspect an $11 million water supply project for PNG's second city, which has been funded by AusAID.

On Thursday, Mr Downer will travel on from PNG with a delegation of Australian parliamentarians to visit Solomon Islands and New Caledonia.

Qld men escape jail term for illegal PNG landing

Last Update: Saturday, December 11, 2004. 5:44am (AEDT)

Two Queensland pilots have been fined after making an illegal landing on the island of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea.

The penalty was given despite a push by PNG's Civil Aviation Authority to impose prison sentences on Andrew James Reid from the Gold Coast and Peter Alfred McGee from Cairns.

PNG's Civil Aviation Authority told the Waigani District Court that both men should be fined and given custodial sentences as it was the first case of its kind in PNG and a strong signal should be sent.

The authority said any jail term for McGee should be suspended, because unlike Reid, he had co-operated with the authority's investigations.

Magistrate Iva Cappo imposed a fine of about $22,000 for Reid, and $13,000 for McGee.

He suspended McGee's PNG pilot licence for a year.

The company that owns the plane was also fined $110,000.

Both men have indicated they will appeal against the decision.