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Indonesia to Withdraw Troops from Aceh

Indonesian military will gradually pull out its personnel from Aceh province after the government and Aceh's rebel reached a peace deal on July 15 in Helsinki, Finland, but it will implement a contingency plan if the rebel breaches from the peace pact, a military commander said Thursday.


"We have a plan (of withdrawal) that is in line with the agreement in Helsinki and also prepare a contingency plan if the situation in the field is not in line with the agreement," Military Commander General Endriartono Sutarto said.


However, the general refused to elaborate the plan.


The government has stationed over 35,000 troops in the rebellious province of Aceh since 2003. The government troops and the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM) had continued their conflict in the past three decades that had claimed over 15,000 lives, most of them were civilians.


Endriartono said according to the draft of the peace agreement, the rebel must hand over their weapons in three months, starting from the signing of the peace deal.


Regarding to the plan on monitoring the implementation of the peace pact in the province, the general said "EU has already decided that it would give priority to the former or active military. They can take an immediate and right step in an emergency situation," he said.


"After they survey in the field, (they) will determine how many people to be deployed and how many will be from the EU and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) monitoring team," he said.


Commenting on the escalation of friction between the rebel and the government troops in the tsunami-hit province of Aceh, Endriartono said the government will bring the issue to a meeting held between the Indonesian government and the monitoring team.


(Xinhua News Agency July 29, 2005)


Indonesian Govt, Aceh Rebels Sign Tentative Agreement on Truce
Indonesian Leaders and Aceh Rebels End Talks
Aceh Gets New Chance at Peace
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