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Tuesday, 12 February, 2002, 14:29 GMT
Analysis: Moluccan peace deal
By the BBC's Richard Galpin in Jakarta

The Indonesian Government has appealed to the Christian and Muslim communities in the Moluccan Islands to support a peace agreement aimed at ending three years of sectarian conflict.

The agreement was reached after unprecedented talks mediated by top government ministers.

People fleeing violence, Ambon 1999
The violence erupted in Ambon in 1999
There have been many peace agreements between the Christian and Muslim communities since January 1999 when the violence first broke out, none of which proved effective.

But this latest deal is different. It is the result of talks between large delegations from both sides held at a neutral venue on the neighbouring island of Sulawesi.

Also the top security and social welfare ministers were sent to mediate.

Paramilitaries

Besides pledging to end the conflict, the two sides have also called on all unauthorised militia groups to surrender their weapons and any groups from outside Maluku province causing problems must leave.

This is a clear reference to the radical Islamic group, Laskar Jihad, which sent thousands of fighters to the region two years ago, causing a major escalation in the violence.

But a Laskar Jihad spokesman told the BBC they had no intention of pulling out. He said the delegates at the peace talks did not represent the grassroots Muslim community.

Other important clauses in the peace deal include a pledge to carry out an independent investigation into what sparked the conflict three years ago. There is also a call for the security forces to be united and firm in maintaining law and order.

In the past, members of the police and military have taken sides in this conflict.

Whilst there is good cause for optimism after the signing of this deal, it will be difficult to enforce - after so much bloodshed, the Muslim and Christian communities are deeply divided.

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The BBC's Richard Galpin reports from Jakarta
"There can be no doubt it will be extremely difficult to implement this peace agreement"
See also:

11 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
Moluccan leaders agree to peace
20 Dec 01 | Asia-Pacific
Sulawesi factions agree peace plan
12 Dec 01 | Asia-Pacific
Moluccas tense after riots
04 Dec 01 | Asia-Pacific
Afghan fighters 'seen' in Sulawesi
20 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Who are the Laskar Jihad?
26 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Troubled history of the Moluccas
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