Astrid Felicia Lim, Jakarta – National Intelligence Agencey (BIN) chief Syamsir Siregar says that foreigners in Aceh definitely have specific interests other than the humanitarian mission. Based on BIN's data, as well as thousands of volunteers the number of foreign troops presently in Aceh has reached 19,000 personnel.
"It is clear there are specific interests. How stupid would it be if the US and other countries were not like that", said Siregar at a People's Representative Assembly Commission I working meeting between the chief of the armed forces, the minister of defense, the foreign affairs minister and the chief of BIN at the DPR Building in Jakarta on Thursday January 20.
According to Siregar foreigners will definitely take advantage of every opportunity to achieve specific aims such as gaining knowledge about Indonesia's geographic conditions. They will be able to find more detailed information about Indonesia in particular about the Straits of Malacca.
For this reason BIN is of the opinion there needs to be a time limit for foreign troops remaining in Aceh. Siregar proposed at time limit of three months because within that time period Indonesia will have the capability to take over the handling of humanitarian crisis in Aceh.
Siregar revealed that there are a number of parties which are trying to use Aceh for specific interests. He mentioned one of them, the director of the International Crisis Group (IGC), Sydney Jones1.
"Sydney Jones for example has already asked us for permission to enter [Aceh]. But we didn't give it [to her] although there were a number of ministers who also asked for it to be granted. Rather than creating a problem it was better we didn't authorise it", said Siregar.
BIN has deployed 15 of its staff in Aceh. From BIN's data it is known that the number of foreign volunteers in Aceh is already in the thousands. Meanwhile there are as many as 19,000 foreign troops. (iy)
1. On BIN's recommendation, in June 2003 the Indonesian government refused to extend Sydney Jones' visa and she was forced to leave the country. BIN alleged that Jones was "creating unrest" although it is generally believed that the then chief of BIN, A.M. Hendropriyono, had taken offense to ICG reports which suggested that BIN had been incompetent in its handling of recent terrorist bomb attacks.
[Translated by James Balowski.]