Jakarta - Peace prospects in Aceh received a further boost after Indonesia's Parliament gave its full blessings to the peace agreement that will be signed in Helsinki,Finland, on Aug 15. Legislators had complained earlier that the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had not consulted the House of Representatives over the Aceh peace talks.
But on Aug 9, the House formally expressed its support for the peace deal following a marathon consultation meeting with the President.
"The House leadership, including all 10 factions ... support efforts by the government to solve conflicts in Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam in a peaceful, comprehensive and dignified manner," House Speaker Agung Laksono told a joint media conference.
President Yudhoyono said Parliament would be given a bigger role in the implementation of the peace accord and assured lawmakers that the peace process would be carried out "within the framework of the Indonesian unity".
He added that the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) rebels would cease to exist immediately after the accord is signed in Helsinki. An amnesty will be given the former rebels.
GAM, which has been fighting Indonesian forces since 1976, has agreed to drop its demand for an independent state of Aceh. The government said it might allow the rebels to start their own political parties.
At the press conference, both President Yudhoyono and Mr Agung refused to disclose details of the Aceh peace deal. But Mr Agung said the agreement would cover "amnesty, political rights, facilities, integration, economic affairs and monitoring of the peace implementation".
About 200 unarmed military and civililan officials from the European Union and Asean will monitor the implementation of the peace agreement.
* House support Aceh peace pact (The Jakarta Post, Aug 10)
* Lawmakers give nod to Aceh peace deal (The Straits Times, Aug 10)