On 15 August 2005, the Government of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) signed an agreement to end almost 30 years of conflict between them over claims to independence. After a series of failed ceasefires, this was the first comprehensive peace agreement, and contained within it the potential to settle the political and economic claims that fuelled a desire for separation in Aceh. The talks that led to the peace agreement followed the devastating tsunami of 26 December 2004, which killed over 100,000 people in Aceh, and an escalated military campaign by the Indonesian military against GAM forces. The talks were brokered by an international mediation organisation and supported by the European Union (EU). Despite some opposition within Jakarta, the talks were ultimately successful, producing an agreement that addressed many of the fundamental concerns of the Acehnese, especially around economic redistribution and local political representation. The EU agreed to monitor the agreement by sending a 200 strong Aceh Monitoring Mission (AAM), supported by monitors from ASEAN states. The main purpose of the AMM was to oversee the decommissioning of GAM weapons and the withdrawal of most Indonesian troops and police. It was thereafter expected to retain a smaller presence in order to monitor the implementation of other aspects of the agreement. The Aceh peace agreement faced a number of hurdles, including whether or not the Indonesian military would work to undermine the peace agreement, and over the continuing presence in Aceh of the military’s proxy militias. There were also concerns that the legislation required to secure aspects of the peace agreement might not be passed by the Indonesian legislature or would be diluted to the point that they would no longer be acceptable to GAM. However, as a politically negotiated agreement to end the conflict, the peace agreement was seen as establishing the model for peace in the region, and was touted by some observers as providing the basis for a model for peace in other parts of Indonesia’s sometimes troubled archipelago.
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Field of Research
160607 International Relations
Socio Economic Objective
970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society
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