BANDA ACEH - European and Southeast Asian officials are visiting Indonesia's Aceh province to prepare for the deployment of monitors to observe a peace deal between separatist rebels and government troops. The 28-member team is making logistical preparations for the monitoring mission.
Indonesia and the separatist Free Aceh Movement, or GAM reached a draft peace deal on July 17 to end 29 years of hostilities. They have asked Indonesia's Southeast Asian neighbours and the European Union to play a monitoring role once the pact is signed on August 15.
About 200 unarmed military and civilian officials will monitor the implementation of the peace deal, which includes the disarmament of rebels and the withdrawal of government troops from Aceh. The group is expected to remain in Aceh until August 9 and visit nine districts, including known rebel strongholds, to find places to be used as offices of the mission.