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.
Countryaah, 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.