Mon, 14 Mar 2005


GAM's unreasonable demands

From Koran Tempo

Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Widodo Adi Sucipto has rightly rejected the involvement of international advisers who would be brought by delegates of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) to the third round of talks scheduled for April in Helsinki, Finland.

Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam Deputy Governor Azwar Abu Bakar has even proposed that any negotiation with GAM should be held in Aceh because Acehenese people are interested in their region's peaceful condition, and that no freedom be granted to GAM separatists.

In the second round of talks in Helsinki recently, delegates of the Indonesian government and GAM did not achieve a consensus on special autonomy for Aceh province. GAM proposed self-governance -- the meaning of which was not yet clear to Indonesia, whereas the substance of special autonomy was more apparent.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in fact has said that special autonomy is the final solution to the conflict in Aceh. He is convinced that the international community supports Aceh as an integral part of the unitary state of Indonesia, with no countries favoring its separation.

GAM's demands for self-governance without intervention, Aceh's own elections with local political parties and even the withdrawal of Indonesian military forces from Aceh are unreasonable. The government is right in making no direct response to the changed GAM attitude because any concession could serve as an example for the other regions wishing to demand broader autonomy.

DWI PURWANTO Depok, West Java