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DATE=11/12/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=INDONESIA / ACEH (L ONLY) NUMBER=2-256080 BYLINE=PATRICIA NUNAN DATELINE=BANDA ACEH, INDONESIA INTERNET=YES CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: The Indonesian government has sent a popular Muslim politician to the province of Aceh in response to growing calls from the people of the province for an independence referendum. As Patricia Nunan reports from the provincial capital of Banda Aceh, leading Indonesian politician Amien Rais believes that Indonesia will disintegrate if Aceh is allowed to become independent. TEXT: The speaker of the national assembly, Amien Rais, says he has not brought any specific proposals to Aceh. But instead has come to listen to what the people have to say. Mr. Rais is expected to meet with the governor and several local leaders to discuss demands for an independence referendum in Aceh. Mr. Rais, along with the speaker of parliament and other ministers, has said that if the people of Aceh were to vote for independence in a special ballot, Indonesia would disintegrate. Government officials began voicing their concerns after President Abdurrahman Wahid indicated earlier this week that he might be willing to allow an independence referendum to be held. Mohammed Nazar, the leader of the Aceh referendum information center, says the pro-independence movement is aware that it is the legislators that it has to convince to hold the ballet more so than President Wahid known by the nickname Gus Dur. /// NAZAR ACT /// The nation's government and each province has to determine that they agree with the referendum /// END ACT /// Analysts say the central government wants to offer the Acehenese greater control over the revenue derived from the province's natural resources as part of a compromise to holding an independence ballet. Meanwhile, the Indonesian military says it is withdrawing six hundred troops from Aceh Friday. Armed forces spokesman Major General Sudrajat says the move is in line with a pledge made earlier this month that all troops sent to occupy Aceh would be withdrawn in phases over the course of November. Analysts say much of the resentment by the Acehenese people toward the central government is based on the tactics employed by the Indonesian military. During its ten-year occupation of the province, at least two thousand people are alleged to have been killed or to have disappeared at the hands of Indonesian troops since they were sent to aceh in 1989 to crush a rebel separatist movement. (Signed) NEB/PN/AG/KL 12-Nov-1999 09:16 AM EDT (12-Nov-1999 1416 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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