Helsinki, 12 April 2005

Bismillaahirrahmaanirrahiim.
Assalamu'alaikum wr wbr.
 

STATEMENT BY PRIME MINISTER TO THE OPENING OF ROUND 3 OF THE TALKS
Malik Mahmood
Helsinki - FINLAND.

 

THE STATE OF ACHEH THE PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE P.O.BOX 130, S-145 01 NORSBORG, SWEDEN TEL : +46 8 531 83833 FAX: +46 8 531 91275

Your Excellency President Martti Ahtisaari, Honorable Under-Secretary for Foreign Ministry Excellencies, Ministers of Indonesia, ladies and gentlemen,

Mr. President,

First of all I would like to take this opportunity, on the occasion of the Third Round of Peace Talks, to again express our appreciation and that of the people of Acheh for your initiative in helping find a resolution to the conflict in Acheh.

We also express our admiration of the tireless efforts of your staff in the CMI, and especially to Mr Juha Christensen, who richly deserves our fullsome gratitude.

We are impressed by his ability to overcome difficult administrative problems in several countries by long distance telephone calls made at odd hours, problems that would have easily set others into panic.

We would also like to express our gratitude to the Finnish Government for the continued help and cooperation, to the extend of asking other governments to facilitate the movements of members of our team coming from distant parts of the world.

Allow me also to welcome our counterparts from Jakarta. We trust they will continue to work with us in a spirit of cooperation to achieve a sustainable political settlement to the conflict in Acheh.

Your Excellency, before we enter into the main points of negotiation, I am compelled to bring to your attention the follow points:

We understand that in the process to reach a lasting peace through dialogue like this, there will be unintended problems. However, we must acknowledge these problems and put in place mechamisms to ensure they do not recur, lest they undermine this process.

In particular, we are concerned about the potential for miscommunication between the CMI and our delegation, between the Indonesian counterpart and us, and even more importantly between us and our people in Acheh.

Despite the suffering of the people of Acheh as a consequence of the tsunami, it is important to be aware of the serious escalation of military operations in Acheh. We note this has increased distrust among the Achehnese people towards the government of Indonesia. This escalation of military action undermines Indonesian claims of goodwill towards a peaceful and democratic solution to the conflict.

As recently as this morning, we have recived a report regarding one of our district commanders of the Blang Pidie region, Miswar. He had been held prisoner by PolRes at Tapak Tuan, where he had been held for the past three months. Yesterday his body was found, severely tortured before being murdered.

While we try to focus on how to resolve this conflict, acts such as this and the increased military campaign show the Achehnese people that there is no sincerity on the part of Indonesian government towards the peace talks.

Recognising this, as recently as yesterday 400 ulamas in Acheh expressed their hope and expectation that there will be a ceasefire while the dialogue is taking place. Students organizations in Jakarta and elsewhere have also staged demonstrations demanding that there be a ceasefire as the first principle of this dialogue.

Further, news media around the world have also expressed this same expectation for a ceasefire. Several Members of Parliament in New Zealand, Australia and other countries which have delivered aid to tsunami victims in Acheh have also said that a ceasefire is a logical _expression of goodwill by both sides in the dialogue.

Yet since the tsunami, there has been not a single instruction by the Indonesian president to control the TNI in the field.

We therefore call on the Indonesian delegation, as a sign of goodwill towards this peace process, to call for a ceasefire at a minium for the period of this round of talks - that is, for a period on one week.

It has also become very hard for us to justify our presence here when half of our team is still in jail despite all the compromises we have made in order to move the dialogue forward. We now request the government of Indonesia to demonstrate some tangible _expression of its own good will towards this process by releasing our negotiators and allowing them to participate in this important peace process.

Given the communications that will need to take place to put this ceasefire and release of negotiators into place, we are prepared to allow a period of 24 hours for the Government of Indonesia to implement this necessary gesture of its goodwill towards the peace process.

Malik Mahmood

Prime Minister in exile
State of Acheh

Finland, Helsinki 12 April 2005
----------