|Independence and self-determination in the Pacific ... contrasting
referendum experiences |
between Bougainville, Kanaky New Caledonia and West Papua.
IMAGE: Screenshot of the Kanak flag in Middle East Eye
ANALYSIS: By David Robie in Auckland
THE PACIFIC year has closed with growing tensions over sovereignty and self-determination issues and growing stress over the ravages of covid-19 pandemic in a region that was largely virus-free in 2020.
Just two days before the year 2021 wrapped up, Bougainville President Ishmael Toroama took the extraordinary statement of denying any involvement by the people or government of the autonomous region of Papua New Guinea being involved in any “secret plot” to overthrow the Manasseh Sogavare government in Solomon Islands.
Insisting that Bougainville is “neutral” in the conflict in neighbouring Solomon Islands where riots last month were fuelled by anti-Chinese hostilities, Toroama blamed one of PNG’s two daily newspapers for stirring the controversy.
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“Contrary to the sensationalised report in the Post-Courier (Thursday, December 30, 2021) we do not have a vested interest in the conflict and Bougainville has nothing to gain from overthrowing a democratically elected leader of a foreign nation,” Toroama said.
The frontpage report in the Post-Courier appeared to be a beat-up just at the time Australia was announcing a wind down of the peacekeeping role in the Solomon Islands.