Indonesia: Annan welcomes agreement to end fighting in Aceh

Indonesia: Annan welcomes agreement to end fighting in Aceh

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today welcomed the signing in Geneva of an agreement to end the fighting between the Government of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement, voicing his hope that the accord will pave the way for a return of peace to the province.

The Secretary-General "commends them for their commitment to pursue a peaceful settlement of the conflict, in a manner consistent with the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Indonesia," a UN spokesman said in a statement. "He also congratulates the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue on its role in bringing about the agreement, and expresses his gratitude to all those who are prepared to contribute to its implementation."

The Secretary-General also reaffirmed his readiness to help the Indonesian Government in its effort to achieve economic and social development as well as a successful democratic transition, according to the spokesman.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Sergio Vieira de Mello, added his congratulations to those of the Secretary-General, calling the agreement a “major step towards restoring peace, the protection of civilian populations in Aceh and the respect of their human rights.”

In addition to praising Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri and the leadership of the Free Aceh Movement for their “wisdom and courage,” the High Commissioner also applauded the role of the Humanitarian Dialogue Centre for its “tenacious role in bringing this settlement about.”

“The High Commissioner encourages early and full implementation of the agreement so as to create confidence, establish democratic institutions and promote respect for all human rights,” said a statement released on his behalf.