Ceasefire pact for Aceh to be signed
INDONESIA’S move to sign a ceasefire agreement with separatist rebels in Aceh next week has drawn the ire of elements inthe armed forces (TNI), signalling a split between the civilian government and the military on how to end the violence in the province.
Human Rights Minister Hasballah Saad announced yesterday that Jakarta will sign the deal with the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) in Geneva next Friday.
He said that a truce would pave the way for a peaceful resolution to the long-running conflict.
Said a palace source: “It is a confidence-building measure. We cannot go into a dialogue with the rebels when every other day, people are being killed or injured.”
But senior military sources said that making peace with pro-independence guerillas was a step backwards for the country. “This is bad news for Indonesia,” an army general told The Straits Times. “It is de facto recognition of a rebel movement, and there is no guarantee that it will translate into reality because there will be militant separatists who will not want to stick with any peace deal until they get their independence.”
The palace source disclosed that the truce agreement was the brainchild of State Secretary Bondan Gunawan, who initiated a four-day meeting between Indonesian officials and several exiled Acehnese leaders in Geneva last month.
The initiative gained even greater momentum after members of the Geneva-based Henry Dunant Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue visited Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid in Jakarta to offer to play a mediating role.
The source said that the non-governmental organisation, which was also present at the Geneva meeting, was instrumental in drafting the truce agreement.
Central to it is that the TNI and GAM would “stop offensive military operations” even though the police would continue conducting roadblocks and arresting armed civilians.
The Straits Times understands that two committees, made up of Indonesian officials and GAM members, would be set up to monitor the ceasefire over a three-month period once the accord is signed.
While the proposed deal would give the six-month-old government some “breathing space” after months of political uncertainty over Aceh, there are fears of sabotage by members of the military.
A presidential aide said: “There are factions in the TNI who are unhappy about the agreement and might sabotage it. They have all along been trying to wreck our peace efforts by using force blindly.” BREATHING SPACE, BUT …
WHILE the proposed deal would give the government some “breathing space” after months of political uncertainty over Aceh, there are fears of sabotage by members of the military. A presidential aide said : “There are factions in the TNI who are unhappy about the agreement and might sabotage it.”