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Thursday, 20 December, 2001, 20:03 GMT
Sulawesi factions agree peace plan
Map
Warring Muslim and Christian factions have agreed a 10-point plan to end their three-year conflict on the eastern Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

The deal followed two days of closely-guarded talks in Malino in South Sulawesi province.


Both parties agreed to mutual forgiveness

Din Syamsuddin, mediator
It called for a "halt to all forms of conflict and dispute" and for both sides to surrender their weapons.

The talks were mediated by the Indonesian Government which has expressed optimism that the fighting, in which more than 1,000 have died, will be brought to an end.

"The meeting went smoothly and there was a strong [push] to achieve peace from both sides," said Din Syamsuddin, a senior Islamic leader from Jakarta and a mediator at the talks.

"Both parties agreed to mutual forgiveness."

Fighting

Most of the trouble has centred on the town of Poso in Central Sulawesi province - SCTV television reported on Thursday the deal would include a commitment to maintain the peace around Poso.

Four previous rounds of talks have failed to end the violence.

Indonesian Muslim praying in a mosque
Indonesia's population is predominantly Muslim
The new talks came as Indonesia tightened security to prevent a repeat of violence that erupted last Christmas Eve, when a series of bomb blasts near churches killed 19 people across the country.

Fresh fighting has broken out in recent weeks around Poso following the arrival in the area of about 7,000 Muslim militants from the Laskar Jihad group.

Thursday's deal did not call for the expulsion of the group.

"Anybody can live anywhere they wish to," said Din Syamsuddin.

Social Welfare Minister Jusuf Kalla, who hosted the talks, said the government would set up an independent commission to oversee the peace deal and keep an eye on "the behaviour" of outsiders.

National police chief General Da'i Bachtiar said security forces would start confiscating weapons next month.

The Indonesian Government has said it hopes the Sulawesi agreement can be used as a model for ending religious conflict in the neighbouring Moluccan islands, where more than 5,000 people have been killed in the last three years.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Canadian journalist Ian Timberlake
"There have been four failed attempts to halt the clashes"
See also:

20 Dec 01 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Roots of Sulawesi conflict
05 Dec 01 | Asia-Pacific
Minister urges firm action in Sulawesi
04 Dec 01 | Asia-Pacific
Afghan fighters 'seen' in Sulawesi
04 Dec 01 | Asia-Pacific
Sulawesi braced for more violence
03 Dec 01 | Asia-Pacific
More bloodshed feared in Sulawesi
04 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Sulawesi violence claims 18 lives
20 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Who are the Laskar Jihad?
26 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Troubled history of the Moluccas
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