Suliyanti, Jakarta – People’s Representative Assembly Commission I for Defense and Foreign Affairs is urging the military (TNI) to remain resolute and on guard against the armed separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM).
At a Commission I working meeting between the chief of the TNI, the foreign affairs minister, the minister of defense and the head of the National Intelligence Agency (BIN) which was discussing Aceh, Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle fraction member, Permadi, declared that he views GAM’s condition at the moment as being quite weak as is the case for other victims of the tsunami disaster.
According to Permadi, the TNI must use the moment to put pressure on GAM. “GAM, wipe them out, but the humanitarian mission [must] continue”, he said. Permadi is also of the view that present conditions could be used by the TNI to make peace with GAM. “But if they don’t want peace, keep wiping them out”, he said enthusiastically.
Afiffuddin Thaib from the Golkar Party fraction agreed with Permadi. However according to Thaib, if there are indeed peace negotiations, GAM must first agree to be part of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia. “If they don’t want to, then wipe them out”, he said elaborating on Permadi’s comments.
TNI chief General Endriartono Sutarto responded by saying that it was not within his capacity to determine the TNI’s position with regard to GAM. “Wipe them out or shake hands, or sleep together, it all depends on the political policy makers. I’m ready [to do as they say]”, he said. What is certain according to Sutarto, is that they should prioritise humanitarian work and not an offensive operation.
In addition to the TNI chief, a number of other parliamentary members gave their input to head of BIN, Syamsir Siregar. They are asking BIN not to take assistance from foreign troops lighly. “It’s BIN’s job to be suspicious”, said Abdillah Toha, the head of the National Mandate Party fraction.
[Translated by James Balowski.]