GAM to be disbanded in concert with troop withdrawals: Yudhoyono

Tempo Interactive – July 17, 2005
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during visit to Aceh (Tempo)
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during visit to Aceh (Tempo)

Dimas Adityo, Jakarta – Within three months after a peace deal is agreed to between the Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), the separatist group’s arms will be surrendered and destroyed. In concert with this said President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, non-organic TNI (armed forces) troops will be withdrawn from Aceh in stages.

The president revealed this after a volleyball match with Kostrad (Army Strategic Reserves Command) officers at the headquarters of the Kujang 17 Airborne Infantry Brigade in Cijantung, East Jakarta, on Sunday July 17. “In this way the process of disbanding GAM will occur”, he said.

The president believes this is fair, if the disbanding of GAM up is accompanied with the withdrawal of non-organic TNI troops (troops from outside Aceh who are assigned to the Iskandar Muda territorial military command). The president however declined to say how many non-organic troops would be withdrawn. “The details will be worked out by the chief of the TNI”, said Yudhoyono.

The informal negotiations in Helsinki between the Indonesian government and GAM will end on Sunday morning local time. On Saturday night, the president acknowledged that he had obtained a report saying that 97 per cent of the draft agreement has been agreed to. “Leaving 3 per cent which is related to opportunities for former GAM members to be active in politics”, he said.

[Translated by James Balowski.]