Helsinki, 15 August 2005
STATEMENT BY PRIME MINISTER MR MALIK MAHMUD ON THE SIGNING THE ACHEH MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING
Mr Malik Mahmud
Helsinki - FINLAND.
THE STATE OF ACHEH OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER P.O. BOX 130, S-145 01 NORSBORG, SWEDEN TEL : +46 8 531 83833 FAX: +46 8 531 91275
HELSINKI, 15 August 2005
Praise be to Allah by whose Grace, we are today to end the conflict that has caused so much sufferings for the Achehnese people.
President Ahtisaari, Excellencies, Ministers, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
On behalf of the people of Acheh, our Wali Neugara Tengku Hasan di Tiro, and all the members of GAM in Acheh and everywhere in the world,
I would like to thank the CMI and President Ahtisaari for their work in helping us come to this point, where we now have a peace agreement for Acheh.
I would also like to thank the European Union for its support and commitment to this peace process, and for agreeing to establish the Acheh Monitoring Mission which will oversee the implementation of the agreement.
Without the work of these two organisations, this process would not have been possible.
I must also thank the people of Acheh for their patience during this difficult period, and humbly accept the expressions of support and good will they have offered to GAM and to the success of the peace process.
I would also like to thank the Indonesian delegation with whom we have been holding these talks over the past six months.
I thank them for their willingness to try to find a way through the many problems that the peace process has faced.
We come to this day at the conclusion of six months of talks aimed at achieiving a peace agreement for the future of Acheh.
But more importantly, we come to this day after almost 30 years of GAM's struggle for the liberation of the people of Acheh.
We come to this day after almost three decades of military violence and repression against the peopleof Acheh.
The people of Acheh have a long and proud tradition of resisting aggression from outsiders. And we have a long and proud tradition of justice.
The struggle that we have waged for these many years has been to achieve justice for the people of Acheh.
There has been no peace in Acheh because there has been no justice in Acheh.
What we hope we have achieved with the signing of this peace agreement is the beginning of a process that will bring justice to the people of Acheh.
Justice means ensuring that the people have a voice and that they are listened to and their wishes are followed.
This means the creation of a political system that encourages freedom of speech, many opinions, and the ability to fully participate in and be represented by that process.
That is, ladies and gentlemen, the only way to ensure peace in Acheh is through the implementation of a genuine democracy.
Genuine democracy does not restrain the creation of political parties - it encourages the creation of political parties.
Genuine democracy does not limit the range of ideas that inform those parties - it encourages the full flowering of ideas.
And genuine democracy does not bow in the face of violence and injustice - it is the means of ending violence and injustice.
In coming to this peace agreement, the Free Acheh Movement has made many concessions.
It has not always made these concessions because it believes they will promote peace, justice and demoracy - it has made these concessions because they have been a part of the process of compromise with a political system that is still in transition.
The Republic of Indonesia is not yet fully reformed from the dark days of the New Order. But this peace agreement is an important step for Indonesia away from those dark days.
Peace is important to Indonesia so that it can learn to live with itself, in all its diverse forms. For too long, Indonesia's diversity has been allowed only so long as it conformed to a narrow nationalist interpretation.
This interpretation tried to force one identity on Indonesia's diversity. This has failed. And where this has failed it has been followed with repression.
This narrow nationalist interpretation did not allow justice. It did not allow real democracy. And it did not allow peace.
Ladies and gentlemen;
For there to be a sustainable peace in Acheh, the people of Acheh must be allowed to choose their own representatives from their own political parties to stand for their own government.
In their wisdom, the Government of Indonesia has agreed to this proposal. This is the major achievement of the agreement, and it is that which best ensures there will be lasting peace in Acheh.
However, ladies and gentlemen, it would be naive not to recognise there remains many challenges to peace in Acheh.
Coming to this point of agreement has been hard work. But we know that the real hard work remains ahead of us.
This peace agreement will need to be fully and properly implemented. It will need to obey not just the letter of the agreement but obeying the spirit of the agreement.
That is, where problems may arise, the answers to those problems will not be in a legalistic interpretation of the agreement.
The answer will be in following the spirit of the agreement, to seek sollutions that will promote justice, genuine democratisation, and a sustainable peace.
This agreement specifies that most day to day issues will devolve to the government of Acheh.
But GAM has recognised that some powers in Acheh will remain with the government of the Republic of Indonesia.
Given Acheh's history, the most important of these issues is that of 'defence'.
GAM has accepted that so-called organic troops can stay in Acheh to focus on the external defence of the state.
However, the number of troops that will remain in Acheh does not appear to correspond with the usual requirements of the Indonesian miltiary's territorial structure. At the end of this process, there will be around twice as many troops to be stationed in Acheh as any other area in Indonesia.
This outcome cannot be explained by a focus on external defence, and it does not create confidence in the TNI's intentions.
All Achehnese people will, therefore, be relying on the Acheh Monitoring Mission to ensure these troops do not engage in any non-external activities.
That is, the Indonesian army has said it will no longer kill and attack the people of Acheh. We now call on the Acheh Monitoring Mission to make sure this is the case.
Of more concern, however, is the militias in Acheh.
The Free Acheh Movement expresses its deep concern over the continuing presence of TNI proxy militias in Acheh, despite the signing of the Acheh peace agreement.
According to the agreement, the Government of Indonesia will be responsible for the decommissioning of illegal weapons held by illegal groups or parties.
This means the Indonesian police will be responsible for the disarmament of militias.
The government of Indonesia has since denied that any militias exist in Acheh. Hence, the logic follows, there is no need for their disarmament.
However, we know that many militia organisations do exist in Acheh, and that they are directly linked to and are supported by the Indonesian army.
There are around 10,000 TNI-linked militia members active in Acheh.
It is difficult to believe that the Indonesian Police will take weapons from militias that have been given to them by the TNI.
According to reports that we have from Acheh, militia members have recently been saying that after GAM is disarmed they will kill GAM members.
If GAM defends itself against these militias, this will be the excuse the TNI is looking for to re-launch military operations against GAM.
This will end the peace process.
As we all know, the TNI had a long history of using proxy militias to attack activists and civilians in Acheh. It has also done this elsewhere, in East Timor, Papua, Maluku and Central Sulawesi.
We have always understood that the success of this peace will rely very heavily on the support of the international community and the attention given by the international media.
We now call on the international community to voice its opposition to the continuing presence of militias in Acheh at this time of working for peace.
And we humbly request the international media continue to focus on the militias in Acheh, so they cannot commit atrocities without being exposed to the world.
To use the words of President Ahtisaari during he last round of talks, this peace process has required a leap of faith by GAM.
It is a leap of faith GAM has taken to allow Acheh to rebuild after the devastating tsunami which killed so many of our brothers and sisters.
And it is a leap of faith that GAM has taken to give the people of Acheh the opportunity to build a better and brighter future for themselves, their children and generations to come.
While we hope there will be few problems ahead of us as we implement this peace process, we do understand that the task will not be easy.
To ensure the success of this peace process, we will need to remain vigilant. We will need to work hard. And we will need the goodwill and cooperation of the Government of Indonesia.
GAM is fully committed to a plural and democratic future for Acheh, in which justice and peace prevail.
We now leave this historic day and embark on a great journey into a new and, we hope, much better future.
We hope the days of darkness and despair are now behind us; we look forward to the days of hope and light ahead, if it be God's will.