Kalla holds closed meeting on Aceh deal with political leaders

Kompas – July 25, 2005
Vice President Jusuf Kalla speaking to journalists (Tempo)
Vice President Jusuf Kalla speaking to journalists (Tempo)

Jakarta – After earlier inviting a number of figures from the political parties to discuss the Helsinki negotiations, on Monday July 24, Vice President Jusuf Kalla held follow up discussions with a number of party faction leaders from the People’s Representative Assembly (DPR) at his official residence on Jalan Diponegoro.

Present at the meeting was United Development Party (PPP) faction chairperson Endin AJ Soefihara, Star Reform Party (PBR) faction chairperson Bursah Zarnubi along with a number of other faction heads. Only leaders of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) failed to attend.

Also present at the meeting were three of four DPR leaders including house speaker Agung Laksono and deputy speakers Muhaimin Iskandar and Zaenal Ma’arif. The deputy speaker from the PDI-P fraction, Soetardjo Soerjogoeritno, did not appear.

Other political party leaders who were present included Zainuddin MZ from PBR, Sutrisno Bachir from the National Mandate Party (PAN) and Tifatul Sembiring from the Prosperity and Justice Party (PKS).

Cabinet members who attended included the Minister for Justice and Human Rights, Hamid Awaluddin, who also headed the Indonesian delegation in the Helsinki negotiations, the Minister of Communication and Information, Sofyan Djalil, the State Minister for Administrative Reforms, Taufiq Effendi, the Minister for Labour and Transmigration, Fahmi Idris, the State Minister for the Development of Disadvantaged Regions, Saifullah Yusuf, and the Minster of Forestry MS Kaban.

According to a security guard, the meeting was indeed closed and the media was not notified.

Soefihara, who was sought for conformation on the matter, confirmed that the meeting took place. “We discussed the [issue of] GAM [Free Aceh Movement] and resolving it in a comprehensive, peaceful and dignified manner”, he said through an SMS message received by Kompas. A similar message was received from Zarnubi. “Yes it’s true”, he wrote briefly. What was agreed to during the meeting has still not been ascertained. The only reports on the issue said that the meeting is still taking place.

Nevertheless, according to one of the participants, the meeting was able to discuss GAM activists who will be granted amnesty after consideration by the DPR. After being granted amnesty, GAM activists’ political rights will be restored and they will be given an opportunity to participate in regional and legislative elections and other political rights. (sut)

[Translated by James Balowski.]