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Govt rejects rebel demand to take part in Aceh local elections JAKARTA - The Indonesian government on Tuesday rejected a key demand by Aceh separatist rebels, to take part in future local elections in the tsunami-battered province. Indonesian laws barred the government from "accommodating" the Free Aceh Movement's (GAM) demands for local polls and the right to form a party, said the senior security minister, Widodo Adisucipto.

The demands were a key rebel concern, and their rejection could hinder the fifth round of talks between Jakarta and GAM in July, according to the Finnish-based Crisis Management Initiative group, which mediates the talks. The Indonesian government and rebel negotiators ended the latest round of talks in Helsinki last week and agreed to meet again in July.

"There are rules and regulations that will not allow for those demands to be accommodated," Adisucipto said after an eight-hour cabinet meeting chaired by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. He said Yudhoyono reiterated during the meeting that future talks with the rebel group will remain "informal" because Aceh's problems were a "domestic issue" that should not be "internationalized".

Aceh's rebels have been fighting for three decades for the independence of Indonesia's resource-rich, westernmost province, a conflict that has left more than 12,000 people dead. A peace process, which collapsed in May 2003 and was followed by a major military offensive to crush the rebels, was restarted in the wake of last year's tsunami disaster in which 128,000 people were killed in Aceh.



Posted in General @ 08 June 2005 09:37 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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