I want to first acknowledge the result. I want to assure the people of Bougainville and all Papua New Guineans that the Government has heard your voice, the Prime Minister said.
Thanking Bougainville Referendum Commission Chairman, Bertie Ahern for his leadership and guidance, the Prime Minister acknowledged the safe and peaceful manner in which the vote occurred.
The conduct of the vote was excellent. I give full credit to the work of the Bougainville Referendum Commission, the Autonomous Bougainville Government under the leadership of President Momis and the people of Bougainville who ensured that the referendum period was safe and that all Bougainvilleans could cast their vote, Prime Minister Marape said.
Prime Minister Marape will travel to Bougainville this Friday, where he will speak in Arawa and sign a joint statement with President Momis.
The next step in the Bougainville Peace Process will now begin. The two governments must consult and we must develop a road map that leads to a lasting political settlement that the National Parliament can consider. I look forward to talking more about my vision for this process when I travel to Bougainville later this week, the Prime Minister said.
The Bougainville Referendum is a key part of the Bougainville Peace Agreement, which was signed in 2001. Under the terms of the agreement, the referendum is non-binding and will be subject to consultation after the vote has taken place.
This consultation process is expected to commence early in the new year