AMM’s presence does not need to be extended past March: TNI

Kompas – December 16, 2005
Major General Supiadin AS visiting military command headquarters (Pikiran Rakyat)
Major General Supiadin AS visiting military command headquarters (Pikiran Rakyat)

Banda Aceh – The commander of the Iskandar Muda Territorial Command, Major General Supiadin AS, says that there are no grounds to extend the presence of the Aceh Monitoring Mission (AMM) in Aceh that is planned to end in March 2006. This is because the TNI (Indonesian military) and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) have already fulfilled their commitments in accordance with the Helsinki memorandum of understanding (MoU) so that the atmosphere in Aceh is already conducive.

If I evaluate [the situation] up until now, there are no strong grounds to extend AMM’s prescience in Aceh, Supiadin told journalists after an event commemorating an infantry anniversary at the Neusu Square in Banda Aceh on Thursday December 15.

According to Supiadin, the TNI has already given the highest commitment and the public has accepted GAM presence well. GAM’s presence in the settlements has also not created any principle problems.

This means that there are no issues that are related to security. So, if for example if there are parties that wish AMM’s role to be extended, I think there are no grounds to justify it said Supiadin.

Criminal issues

According to Supiadin, the security situation in Aceh at the moment is improving and the rate of crime is also continuing to decline. If there are one or two criminals, yeah that’s natural and it is also something that we cannot detect. They are just ordinary criminals he said by way of clarification.

Supiadin said that to date almost 20,000 or more TNI troops have been repatriated leaving 5,600 or so in Aceh.

Request for extension

Speaking separately, GAM’s deputy spokesperson Munawar Riza said they wanted the AMM’s presence in Aceh to be extended by a minimum of 15 months from now. The AMM has the duty of monitoring the process of the transition of various laws in Aceh. One of these is the Draft Law on the Organisation of a Government for Aceh that will only be completed on March 31. The AMM must also participate in the process of the transition of the laws on political parties he said.

According to Riza, after December there will be a campaign on the election of the head of the administration in Aceh. Following this there will be a process of establishing the political parties. It is these moments that are very dangerous because if they are not monitored there will be many parties that will [try to] damage the peace process he said.

Destruction of weapons

Today, Thursday, GAM will again be surrendering weapons. AMM spokesperson Faye Belnis says that on the second day of the last stage of weapons surrender at the Blangkejeren Square in the Gayo Lues regency, GAM surrendered 51 weapons, 47 of which were accepted and four rejected. Out of the 47 weapons that were accepted by the AMM, three are still being queried by the TNI.

So far, 801 weapons surrendered by GAM have fulfilled the requirements and been destroyed by the AMM. This means that GAM must still surrender 39 more weapons because according to the MoU it must surrender 840 weapons in total.

The next or final weapons surrender will probably be carried out on December 17 at a location near Banda Aceh he said. (AIK)

[Translated by James Balowski.]