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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 December 2005, 10:05 GMT
Indonesian press hails Aceh pull-out
Many Indonesian papers see a "new phase" for peace in Aceh as the final stage of a troop withdrawal from the province takes place following the disarmament of the rebel Free Aceh Movement.

One Banda Aceh-based daily believes the deal between the Indonesian government and Aceh rebels was a direct consequence of last year's tsunami. Two Indonesian dailies, however, warn that more must be done to ensure lasting peace.


Aceh has now entered a new phase. Since the peace agreement in Helsinki on 15 August, the western province has begun to enjoy life without armed conflict. Ever since, mutual enmity has been turned into the spirit of brotherhood. The desire to kill one another has been cast aside and transformed into a spirit of living together in order to reach a brighter future.


The tsunami ended the isolation of Aceh and triggered the peace negotiations... Believe it or not, the emergence of the Helsinki memorandum of understanding was the result of the great tsunami disaster. Without the loss of more than 300,000 Acehnese people and another 15,000 fellow Acehnese during the conflict, peace would have been impossible.

Jakarta's KOMPAS

Greater hopes for a peaceful Aceh have now emerged. The disbandment of the Aceh National Military has ended an armed separatist movement. Certainly we should be grateful to the Free Aceh Movement, which continues to show its commitment to ending the armed conflict... Aceh has indeed entered a new phase of normal life. Fear is no longer visible in the faces of the Acehnese people.


The long road to peace in Aceh must certainly be an unforgettable story and a lasting memory. It must also be a lesson that violence for personal, as well as group interests, will not solve any problem.


As far as we can see, the Free Aceh Movement and the government have been serious in resolving the three-decade conflict. Nearly every point of the Helsinki agreement has been observed, and neither side has lost face. Nevertheless, this does not mean that everything has been settled, because the agreement and its implementation merely lay the foundations for a secure and peaceful Aceh.


The disbandment of the Aceh National Military only seems to represent minor progress. The ceremony is merely symbolic, as it is extremely easy to remobilise civilian groups who are ex-members of the Aceh National Military. The dissolution is insignificant because it is just the same as handing over weapons which can be replaced or bought again from anywhere. The Free Aceh Movement... must never revive its intentions to separate Aceh from the Unitary Republic of Indonesia and... must also eliminate its own existence.

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Country profile: Indonesia
21 Dec 05 |  Country profiles

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