Stockholm, 26 Mei 2003
Assalamu'alaikum wr wbr.
THE ATTACK LAUNCHED BY INDONESIA WILL LEAD TO
GREAT HUMAN SUFFERING AND EXTENSIVE MATERIAL DESTRUCTION
Minister for Foreign Affairs Anna Lindh
Stockholm - SWEDEN.
SWEDEN SUPPORTS A PEACEFUL SOLUTION ON THE PROBLEMS IN ACEH
What position does Sweden take on the breakdown of the peace process and the attack on Aceh by Indonesian armed forces?
Sweden supports a peaceful solution to the problems in Aceh. The attack now launched by Indonesia will inevitably lead to great human suffering and extensive material destruction.
Sweden and the EU regret the failure of the parties to find a solution to the outstanding problems at the Joint Council in Tokyo last weekend (17-18 May). The lesson learned in the decades that the conflict has lasted is that neither side has been able to achieve its goals by military means. Only the full implementation of the ceasefire agreement that Indonesia and GAM signed on 9 December 2002 can pave the way for a lasting peace in Aceh. Under the agreement, the territorial integrity of Indonesia will be respected, i.e. Aceh will not become independent but will obtain special autonomy.
Sweden has contributed logistics and communications support to the monitoring mission that began its activities after the signing of the agreement, acting through the Swedish Rescue Services Agency. At one time there were as many as 14 Swedes in Aceh Province. They were all withdrawn some time ago.
What is Sweden's position with regard to GAM in Sweden?
The rebel movement in Aceh is led by GAM (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka) which freely translated means "Movement for a free Aceh". Some of the leaders of this movement have been in Sweden since the end of the 1970s. Several of them have Swedish citizenship. This applies, inter alia, to the founder of GAM, Teungku Hasan di Tiro. Sweden does not support GAM in any way and the organisation has no official status in Sweden.
Does Sweden intend to take action against GAM members in this country?
On a number of occasions, the Indonesian government has requested that Sweden should take measures against GAM in Sweden. However, according to current Swedish legislation, Sweden is not able to take action against individuals so long as they have committed no criminal offence. Up to now, there has no been no reason for Swedish judicial authorities to take action. We have made this clear to Indonesia.
Naturally, in the event of concrete evidence or substantiated suspicion emerging, the judicial authorities would assess the need for further action. We have explained this to GAM and the Indonesian government.
What contacts does Sweden have with GAM?
Sweden has had contact with GAM, several times at the express request of the Indonesian government. On all these occasions, Sweden has stated its support for the territorial integrity of Indonesia and the peace process. Sweden has urged GAM to do all that is necessary to keep the peace process running, for the sake of the Acehnese people.
We have also made it clear that there is no international support for Acehnese independence and that the peace agreement and its implementation is the only realistic solution for GAM.
Are Sweden's relations with Indonesia affected by the fact that GAM's leaders are in Sweden?
Sweden has very good relations with Indonesia, one of the most important countries in Asia, and thus in the world. These relations are important to us. GAM's presence in Sweden has sometimes led to Indonesian criticism. However, on other occasions the Indonesian government has appreciated the clear message to GAM that Sweden has repeatedly been able to give, directly to the leaders of the movement. This was the case before the signing of the ceasefire agreement in December last year. ( http://www.utrikes.regeringen.se/inenglish/frontpage/Aceh.htm )
Minister for Foreign Affairs