In June 1995, BIG Secretary Miriori was invited to visit the former US President Jimmy Carter's Peace Center in Atlanta for possible assistance with the mediation efforts. The trip had resulted from an earlier visit to Solomon Islands by one their senior consultants, Mr Bill Spencer, who came to see Miriori about the situation in Bougainville. During this same trip, Miriori also travelled to Geneva and then to The Hague for consultations with the World Council of Churches and the Unrepresented Nations and People's organisation.
In September 1995, Australia offered to facilitate talks between the Bougainville leaders. The first round of the preliminary talks involved the BIG Secretary Miriori and his Officer David Onavui representing BIG/BRA, the four Bougainville parliamentarians John Momis, Michael Ogio, Michael Laimo and Joseph Igilio, as well as BTG Premier Theodore Miriung and legal officer Kapeatu Puaria. The purpose of the meeting was to explore the possibilities of resuming dialogue, firstly at the Bougainvillean level and then with the PNG government.
Prior to the talks in Cairns, the United Nations and the Commonwealth Secretariat had both carried out their own missions to consult with PNG and BIG/BRA through the BIG office in Honiara. The Solomon Islands government was also consulted on a potential rule in future talks.
The Cairns preliminary talks agreed to request that Australia facilitate further talks between all four Bougainvillean representatives in PNG parliament, BTG members and the BIG/BRA leadership. The meeting also agreed to ask the PNG government to invite the United Nations and the Commonwealth Secretariat to mediate and chair the Bougainville Leaders meeting. Australia and PNG, as well as Solomon Islands all willingly agreed to support the proposal.
By December, the arrangements were in place for Australia to host the main round of Bougainville leaders talks at Cairns. BIG/BRA leaders were airlifted from Bougainville on Australian chartered helicopters, first to Choiseul Bay at the Solomon Islands border, and then to Honiara on chartered fixed wing aircrafts. The Bougainville Leaders talks were finally underway by late December 1995, co-chaired by United Nations Director of the Asia Pacific Political Division, Professor Francisc Vendrell, and the Deputy Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Dr Kris Srinivasan. The talks were also observed by other representatives including the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ – Australian Division), the Secretary-General of Unrepresented Nations Peoples organisation (UNPO) Dr Michael van Walt van Praag and Alan Weeks of Moral Re-Armament. The outcome of these talks was the signing of the Cairns Agreement.
However immediately after the talks, while the BIG/BRA leaders led by Chairman Kabui were returning home on 3 January 1996, the delegation was attacked at sea at the border between Solomon Islands and Bougainville. The PNG military used boats and a helicopter gunship to ambush the team under the cover of darkness as they reached the Bougainville coastline. Nobody was injured but the incident completely undermined the trust and confidence of BIG/BRA in the PNG government and its military and shattered any further hopes for future negotiations.
A month later, the BIG Office and house of Miriori and his family in Honiara was fire-bombed in the middle of the night by PNG agents and their supporters. Nobody was injured but the house was completely burned to the ground. Following this series of incidents, the BRA went on the offensive. They decided to take the fight to Buka Island, right to the heart of the Government security forces. They launched their attack on the PNG military both at sea and on the ground. The operation was successful.
The PNGDF was now on the receiving end with mounting casualties. The government authorised its security forces to launch another operation – 'High Speed II' in parts of central and south Bougainville. The operation once again failed. For example at Kangu Beach in Buin, BRA forces killed 13 PNG soldiers in one single operation. The government forces were also driven out of their bases at Koromira Catholic Mission station and Aropa airport. PNG security forces decided to take revenge on innocent civilians, especially in the PNGDF/Resistance controlled care-centres. One such incident occurred at Malabita village in the Buin district of south Bougainville. The PNGDF launched seven rounds of mortar bomb at the civilians while they prayed inside the church in early morning on 1 December 1996. More than nine people were killed and about 20 others injured in the bomb blast.