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Megawati says sorry to Aceh, Irian Jaya people JAKARTA - President Megawati Soekarnoputri, in the name of the government, on Thursday asked for forgiveness from the people in troubled Aceh and Irian Jaya for the prolonged conflicts in the westernmost and easternmost provinces. "I ask for your forgiveness over the prolonged conflicts due to the government's mismanagement in the past," Megawati told a plenary meeting of the House of Representatives (DPR) as televised nationwide.
She renewed the government's commitment to give the two provinces, especially Aceh, special autonomy status. The special autonomy law, known as the Nanggroe AcehDarussalam Law, which was passed by the House last month and signed by the President on Aug. 9, provides for the implementation of Islamic Law and larger revenue-sharing in the oil and gas sector. But, Megawati insisted that all negotiations and talks for the settlement of the conflicts in the future must be framed within the context of the unitary Republic of Indonesia.
"The Acehnese and Irian Jayan problems are different from the East Timor case," she said, while referring to the former Indonesian province which voted to establish a separate state during a referendum in August 1999. Earlier on Wednesday, the President said that she would visit Aceh and hold meetings with the Acehnese in the first week of September as part of a bid to quell Acehnese calls for independence.
The visit is intended to form part of an upcoming effort to put an end to separatist sentiment in the province. Back in Aceh, city and intercity public transportation was halted following a strike by drivers on Thursday, leaving thousands of passengers, mainly school and university students, stranded, Antara reported. A number of bus and public minivan drivers, however, declined to mention who had provoked them to go on strike.
"We do not know the identity of the persons who haveinstructed us to go on strike. They just warned us not to operate for a few days, otherwise they would burn or bomb out vehicles," a driver said as quoted by the news agency. But at around 8 a.m. local time, police and military trucks were seen transporting students and passengers to their destinations.



Posted in Politics @ 16 August 2001 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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