Tue, 10 Jun 2003

Govt anti-GAM team arrives in Sweden

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Members of an Indonesian government team arrived in Stockholm on Monday to present evidence to the Swedish government against the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) leaders living in the country.

The team, led by former foreign minister Ali Alatas, is slated to meet with high-ranking officials, including Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson.

"My Swedish counterpart has called me and expressed gratitude over our decision to send the team. They also promised to welcome the team and try to arrange a meeting with Prime Minister Goran Persson," Minister for Foreign Affairs Hassan Wirayuda said on Monday.

The minister further said that the government expected a positive response from Sweden as Jakarta was trying to present evidence showing that GAM leaders in Sweden were responsible for an armed rebellion and various terror attacks in the country.

GAM top leaders including Hasan Tiro, Malik Mahmood and Zaini Abdullah have been living in Sweden for years.

The Indonesian government has been pressuring Sweden to take legal action against GAM leaders in the country.

Sweden, however, said that they could not do anything against Swedish citizens who had not violated any law in the country.

To convince Sweden, the team is bringing along several documents against the GAM leaders, including faxes, e-mails and written daily orders to commanders in Aceh, especially in provoking clashes in the province.

Hassan said that the government was not asking that they be extradited, but merely asked that possible legal measures be taken against them.

"We ask that legal sanctions be taken against these men. The Swedish government, for example, could take appropriate measures to prevent them from leading the separatist movement here," he said.

To support the ongoing military operation against GAM in the province, Hassan said that his office was preparing a draft resolution to the United Nations to include GAM in the UN's list of terrorist groups.

He said that the draft would be inserted in Indonesia's coming periodical report to the UN Counter Terrorism Committee (CTC).

The minister was upbeat that GAM qualified, especially after CTC included the separatist movement in Sri Lanka, the Tamil Tigers, in the list.