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Aceh Peace Process Stakeholders and Facilitators Visit SCOPP

( Created date: 18-Dec-2007 )

A highly representative delegation associated with the Aceh Peace Process in Indonesia visited the Peace Secretariat (SCOPP) on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 for a brief discussion and an exchange of views and insights on conflict resolution based on experiences gathered from peace initiatives in the two countries. The discussion covered a range of issues such as history of the dispute, elements of the Aceh Memorandum of Understanding, devolution of power, regional autonomy under a Unitary Constitution, direct foreign investment, economic assistance from the Central Government, de-commissioning of weapons, re-integration of combatants into civilian life, and the overall lessons for Sri Lanka.

The visiting delegation comprised Indonesian Government officials, representatives of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and foreign peace facilitators. The party consisted of Mr. Azwar Abubakar, former Deputy Governor of the Aceh Province, Mr. Nurdin Abdul Rahuman, Regent of Bireuen District of Aceh and a Peace Negotiator on behalf of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) at the Helsinki Peace Talks, Mr. Zainal Arifin and Mr. Anwar Noer (Indonesian Government Representatives to the Aceh Monitoring Mission), Mr. William Ozkaptan, Co - ordinator of the Aceh Peace Resource Center, Prof. Lucie White, Harvard Law School, Professor Anthony Reid, Historian, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, and Mr. Aguswandi, post – conflict Advisor, Aceh Peace Resource Center.

This delegation was a part of a larger team from overseas that participated in a seminar entitled “The Story of Aceh – Insights”, held at the SLFI, Colombo from the 11th to the 12th December 2007.  The Seminar was jointly sponsored by Muslim Aid, UMCOR and the Methodist Church of Sri Lanka. It was the first such delegation connected to the Aceh Peace Process, to travel overseas since the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Indonesian Government in 2006.

Members of the delegation expressed confidence in the stability of the Aceh Peace Process and the co –operative manner in which the provisions of the Peace Agreement were being currently implemented. SCOPP Officials in turn stressed that the Government of Sri Lanka was seeking a negotiated solution to the political problems of the conflict and was prepared to return to the negotiating table unconditionally and in a spirit of compromise.

The outlook of SCOPP vis – a – vis the Aceh Peace Process is well articulated in the Message of Professor Rajiva Wijesinha, Secretary – General of SCOPP to the Souvenir released at this Seminar. He observes as follows:

“ We in Asia tend to know little about our near and distant neighbours. We tend therefore to ignore the lessons we can learn from conflicts, and more importantly conflict management, in countries such as India and Indonesia that have managed, despite such varied populations, to build up a national identity. This does not mean that they are without difficulties, but the successes they have experienced in dealing with difficulties should be useful to us in our own situation.”

Professor Wijesinha further says:

“  . solutions proved relatively simple because of the deep commitment of the antagonists to peace. Once the threat of separation was removed, the Indonesian government proved itself eager to compromise, and was prepared to negotiate a devolution package that allowed the people of Aceh decision making powers with regard to their lives and resources. Conversely the Free Aceh Movement gave up its demand for independence and handed over its weapons, while ensuring social reintegration of its cadres together with full political rights within a democratic dispensation”

The group photograph below shows members of the visiting delegation together with SCOPP officials.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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