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Sunday, 9 February, 2003, 13:16 GMT
Aceh peace deal reaches new phase
Aceh rebels
The conflict has raged for 26 years
The BBC's Rachel Harvey

Separatist rebels and Indonesian officials have presented their respective plans for demilitarisation in Aceh.

The move marks a new phase in the peace process, two months after a pact was signed between the two sides.

Much has been achieved during the first, confidence-building, period of the truce.

Map of Indonesia showing Aceh and Jakarta
But the real test of the peace agreed for the troubled northern province is yet to come.

Both the rebels of the Free Aceh Movement and the Indonesian Government have now committed themselves to a process of demilitarisation.

Rebels will begin placing their weapons in designated sites, which will then be subject to random inspections by international monitors.

For its part, the Indonesian military has agreed to begin relocating soldiers to defensive positions.

'Balance needed'

The Henry Dunant Centre, which brokered the peace deal in December, says the weeks ahead are likely to be both difficult and sensitive.

A spokesman for the organisation said the process would have to be balanced and reciprocal and would be phased in over the next five months.

The biggest obstacle will be trying to overcome the deep mistrust between the two sides.

International monitors are hoping to be able to build on the progress already made in the peace process.

Violence decreasing

A joint security committee made up of foreign monitors, government representatives and rebel leaders now meets daily to discuss reported ceasefire violations.

Still, some 30 people have been killed since the truce was signed.

It does not sound good, but it is a lot better than it was.

Before the ceasefire an average of 200 people were killed every month.

The peace is still fragile, but the level of violence is - slowly - decreasing.



See also:

09 Feb 03 | Scotland
08 Dec 02 | Asia-Pacific
09 Dec 02 | Asia-Pacific
22 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
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