Wed, 14 Jun 2000

Joint security body lays 'ground rules' for Aceh pause

BANDA ACEH, Aceh (JP): The joint committee on security modalities launched procedures on Tuesday for the three-month humanitarian pause which was agreed on in an accord by the government and Free Aceh Movement (GAM) separatist rebels.

The ground rules, consisting of seven articles and 14 chapters, touch on basic security agreements and necessities in reducing violence in the province.

In the chapters, the committee agrees to work in a body, comprising five representatives from the government and five from GAM, which guarantees the suspension of military action and ensures the police's function of maintaining law and order.

Government representative Col. Ridwan Karim and GAM leader Tengku Nasiruddin bin Ahmad signed the ground rules at Hotel Cakradonya here on Tuesday.

The body will also record violent incidents as well as the distribution of aid conducted by the humanitarian committee.

Ridwan said the agreement does not contain troop withdrawal during the three-month humanitarian pause.

"In case of a violation, as there is no sanction imposed, each case will sit together to settle it within the body," he said.

Separately, visiting U.S. Ambassador for Indonesia Robert S. Gelbard expressed guarded optimism on Tuesday that the humanitarian pause would help resolve the conflict.

Gelbard was in Aceh to monitor the latest situation in the province and to donate US$3 million in aid for the humanitarian pause project.

"The fund will be channeled through the 'Save the Children' program, in cooperation with several non-governmental organizations," he said at the Iskandar Muda Airport.

The United States is supporting the unity of Indonesia and a dialog between all related parties in a bid to obtain peace and justice in Aceh, he said.

"All in hope for a stable, united and democratic country," he added. (50/edt)