Traditional leaders work to sustain peace in border areas

Looking towards the Solomon Islands-Bougainville border

Chiefs and traditional leaders of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Choiseul, Shortland Islands, and the central western region of Western Province will continue their dialogue on sustaining peace in border areas.

The parties signed a memorandum of understanding this week to proceed with the dialogue, which is based on the theme ‘peacebuilding from the lenses of the chiefs and traditional leaders’.

The dialogue reviewed the agreement signed in November 2014 between the Lauru Land Conference of Tribal Community of Solomon Islands and representatives of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

The two-day discussion supported by the UN Peacebuilding project began on Tuesday in Gizo and concluded on Wednesday with a number of resolutions.

Wilson Liliqeto, deputy director of the peace and reconciliation office of Western Province, said in addition to continuing the dialogue, the parties agreed to hold a reconciliation among themselves at the traditional and community level before Solomon Islands’ national healing program proposed for next year.

The agreement also outlines the parties’ responsibility to inform and update their respective governments on each stage of the process towards reconciliation. To further ensure information sharing, each party will be represented by appointed members, known as ‘focal points’.

The traditional leaders of Choiseul, Shortland Islands and the western region of Western Province also developed a communique that demands the National Government settle their compensation claims before the national healing program next year.

The leaders said if the Government fails to do that, they will boycott the program.

By Kikiva Tuni

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