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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 May, 2003, 10:59 GMT 11:59 UK
Jakarta threatens Aceh rebels
Armed Indonesian soldiers guard a mountain area in Lamno village, Aceh
Many Indonesian troops are already stationed in Aceh

The Indonesian Government has signalled that it is running out of patience with separatist rebels in the province of Aceh.

In the strongest sign yet that the faltering peace deal between the government and the Free Aceh Movement (Gam) is breaking down, the authorities in Jakarta have said they are preparing to implement tough new security measures in the province.

Military chief General Endriartono Sutarto indicated these would take effect if Gam did not comply with Jakarta's stipulation that it abandon its demand for complete independence and begin disarming, by 12 May - the deadline set by the government last week.

Chief Security Minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono declined to give details of the proposed security operation.

Jakarta's demands are part of a peace agreement between the two sides, signed in December last year.

That agreement has come under severe strain by continued violence in Aceh and a failure by either side to fulfil its obligations.

Talks in Geneva aimed at saving the peace process were cancelled two weeks ago, and the government and Gam rebels are currently deadlocked over when and where further peace negotiations should take place.

The rebels have already said they will ignore the government-imposed deadline, and have instead suggested talks take place sometime after 12 May in Geneva - home of the international monitors from the Henry Dunant Centre, who helped broker the December peace deal.

Stalled process

Last December's ceasefire agreement was designed to end the 26-year conflict which has claimed at least 12,000 lives.

Under the terms of the agreement, the rebels were supposed to place their weapons in special arms dumps, and the Indonesian military was meant to withdraw to defensive positions.

Neither Jakarta nor Gam has so far fulfilled its side of the bargain.

And there has also been a notable increase in violence in the troubled province in the last few weeks.

International peace monitors have pulled back to the provincial capital Banda Aceh, after a series of security scares and arson attacks.

Sidney Jones, International Crisis Group
"There was a cumulative process, whereby the army gradually lost patience"

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28 Apr 03  |  Asia-Pacific
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24 Apr 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Concern over Aceh peace deal
10 Apr 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Aceh peace monitors besieged
07 Apr 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Will Aceh's deal work?
08 Dec 02  |  Asia-Pacific
Profile: Aceh's separatists
09 Dec 02  |  Asia-Pacific


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