TITLE=INDONESIA / ACEH (L-ONLY)
INTRO: Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid has
warned the troubled northern province of Aceh
that the government will not tolerate efforts to
break free from Indonesia. As Patricia Nunan
reports from Jakarta, it is the strongest
statement that President has made about Aceh,
where separatist rebels are pushing for full
TEXT: Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid says
Aceh is part of the Indonesian domain -- and that
any attempt to separate Aceh from the nation is
an act that in his words "will not be tolerated."
The President also says he has the support of the
international community for his efforts to keep
the province a part of Indonesia.
The uncharacteristically strong statement from
the Indonesian leader comes in response to
demands by the Indonesian parliament for a
tribunal to be formed to try those suspected of
human rights abuses in Aceh.
Parliament speaker Akbar Tanjung says the
President should have "a sense of crisis" about
the problems in Aceh and other provinces where
separatist unrest is simmering. Mr. Tanjung is
also calling for the president to take concrete
measures -- among them the establishment of a
human rights tribunal in Aceh -- to diffuse those
President Wahid said Wednesday he understands the
reasons for the lawmakers' demand but added a
resolution to the Aceh situation is not as easy
as some people believe.
When he took office in October, the president
said that ending separatist unrest in Aceh would
be at the top of his agenda.
President Wahid earned criticism for a series of
overseas trips he took in the six weeks he was
been in office. But the President says the
foreign trips are all part of his plan to resolve
the Aceh problem.
/// WAHID ACT ///
I even go with the hat in my hand, to Kuwait, to
everywhere -- to Malaysia, to the States, just to
find a solution to Aceh -- in order to help them.
So we have tried every possible means to find
solution to the Acehnese problem.
///END ACT ///
Analysts say that forming a human rights tribunal
for Aceh would help the government win
credibility among the Acehnese people. There is
widespread mistrust of the central government in
Aceh because of the estimated two thousand people
that human rights groups say have died or
disappeared at the hands of Indonesian soldiers.
The Armed Forces undertook a mission to crush
Aceh's guerrilla separatist movement in 1989. But
analysts say the alleged abuses by the military
have actually fueled demands for Aceh's
Separatists also want Aceh to break free of
Indonesia because of what they consider to be the
exploitation of the province's oil and natural
gas deposits by the central government. Aceh's
local officials, like provincial leaders
elsewhere in Indonesia, complain that little of
the revenue generated at home is being returned
to their provinces.
The Indonesian President has also so far refused to
allow an independence referendum to be held in Aceh,
as many Acehnese have demanded. (signed)
08-Dec-1999 06:06 AM EDT (08-Dec-1999 1106 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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