Papua New Guinea. Peace negotiations between the warring parties on the island of Bougainville in January resulted in an agreement on a permanent ceasefire, which formally entered into force at the end of April/May. The agreement was concluded at negotiations in New Zealand between the government, the rebel army at Bougainville and representatives of the island’s local government. The nine-year civil war has claimed nearly 20,000 lives.
According to Countryaah, the capital of Papua New Guinea is Port Moresby. Papua New Guinea suffered a severe natural disaster in July. Two earthquakes in the sea were followed by three huge tidal waves, which swept across the coast in the northwest, drowned several villages, took an estimated 5,000 lives and left thousands of people homeless.
In April, a new political party, PNG First Party, was formed by merging, among other things, Prime Minister Bill Skates People’s National Congress. The leader became Skate, and the new party became the largest in parliament. Eleven MPs surrendered their support to the government in June and joined the opposition.
In November, the Minister of Finance announced that every 10 government employees, 7,000 people, must be laid off. The resources should instead be used to remedy a lack of basic health care and schooling in the country.
In December, the government failed to get support in Parliament for constitutional amendments so that a temporary so-called reconciliation government could be installed in Bougainville as of the turn of the year.
In July 1992, Prime Minister Palas Wingti launched a crusade against corruption, prompting more provincial governors to retire. In June, a corruption lawsuit was launched against former Prime Minister Namaliu and former Finance Minister Paul Pora.
Wingti also suggested an increase in Papua’s share in the companies that had mixed Papua foreign ownership. That led to a strong reaction from PJV – the Anglo-Australian-Canadian company that controls 90% of the gold mining in Porgera.
In 1993, the prime minister tried to reopen the copper mine in Panguna, Bougainville. It had ceased operations since the outbreak of separatist disputes on the island. But the mine is located in an area under Francis Ona’s Revolutionary Army control, and although politically weakened, they remain active.
Wingti was replaced at the presidential post in August 1994 by Julius Chan. The same year, the government regained control of the copper mine at Bougainville, but an explosion in the Porgera gold mine led to an interruption of operations there.
Chan strongly condemned the series of French nuclear test blasts in the Pacific. Following the second of these blasts (in October 1995), the Prime Minister interrupted the negotiations between France and the South Pacific Forum in his capacity as chairman of this regional forum.
In October 1996, the conflict on Bougainville worsened when Theodore Miriung was murdered. He was the supreme authority on the island and had promoted the conclusion of a peace agreement. The prime minister was accused by a military chief of hiring international mercenaries to crush the separatist movement, and then representatives of the armed forces demanded Chan’s departure.
Despite support in Parliament, the Prime Minister filed his resignation request in March 1997, and was temporarily replaced by John Giheno. A few weeks later, Parliament appointed Bill Skate to head the government.