Wed, 30 Apr 2003

Govt must be firm on GAM

On Feb. 18, 2003 the following appeared in The Jakarta Post: "Humam Hamid, an influential figure in Banda Aceh, said that the truce had almost broken down, because of the absence of mutual trust between the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and the security authorities. This is caused by misinterpretation of the peace accord."

The Henry Dunant Center (HDC), GAM and security authorities should sit down together again to reach the same understanding of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (COHA) and its implementation. After that the three sides should jointly disseminate information about the peace accord to show their commitment to establishing peace as well as avoiding confusion among the Acehnese people.

The main hindrance was that both sides disseminated information to their own camps according to their own interpretation. Humam called on the three sides to stick to COHA, step by step and article by article.

Although more than one month old, its significance is still clear, important and binding. Another problem is that GAM still feels strong and arrogant, thinking that the politicians are backing it, when they indicate that military operations have not been efficient, which has caused confusion within Armed Forces ranks. The Military do not know what to do, while the security situation rapidly deteriorates. GAM showed its arrogance by refusing to talk. Then it agreed, but insisted on having the talks abroad and the government, as expected, complied and prepared Tokyo as the meeting place. GAM refused and insisted on having talks in a neutral country. It tried again and again to postpone everything, while continuing to influence the public.

I am afraid that the government will again consent to the demands of GAM, instead of saying to GAM, "Do as we tell you or we shall stop talking and take stern action."

In my humble opinion, if there are going to be talks again, they should be held in Indonesia, because this is a domestic problem and there is no need to involve strangers in our household problems. I am sure that my government will be able to solve this problem once and for all.

Be firm for once, so that this problem may be solved as soon as possible and free ordinary people from their sufferings. The government should know that GAM is playing for time, to increase its strength by recruiting more soldiers and smuggling weapons.