Bertie Ahern appointed to chair commission in Papua New Guinea
Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has been appointed the chairman of the Bougainville Referendum Commission in Papua New Guinea.
He was invited to chair the commission by the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea and the President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government.
The European Union congratulated Mr Ahern on his appointment to the commission, which will see a referendum on independence in the Bougainville take place in June of next year.
He visited Papua New Guinea and Bougainville in October, when he met with senior officials and international partners including the European Union, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Japan, Korea, and Fiji and chaired a meeting of the Referendum Commission’s full membership on 15 October.
Mr Ahern’s appointment is seen as a significant milestone in the implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA). The EU has been a key partner in the implementation of the 2001 Peace Agreement, with a key focus on promoting political dialogue between the Government of PNG and Autonomous Bougainville Government to implement the BPA.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been assisting the establishment of the Bougainville Referendum Commission with financial support so far from the Government of New Zealand, the Government of Japan, and the Government of Australia.
The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs supported all the preparatory arrangements leading to Mr. Ahern’s appointment over the course of the past year.