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TNI ready to withdrawal ‘non-organic’ troops from Aceh

Tempo Interactive - July 17, 2005

Sunariah, Jakarta – The TNI (armed forces) is ready to withdraw its troops from Aceh if it is part of an agreement reached in Helsinki between the Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM).

On Sunday July 17, the head of the TNI’s public information office, Colonel Ahmad Yani Basuki, said that from the start the TNI has supported all policy decisions by the government. Including he said, withdrawing their troops from Aceh as one of GAM’s conditions in the negotiations.

“If in the negotiations, [troop] withdrawals are part of the governments political decision, the TNI will follow it”, said Basuki. While conceding that GAM is still causing security disturbances, Basuki added that the TNI cannot force the government to let them remain in Aceh if the government has decided otherwise.

Earlier, the Minister of Communication and Information, Sofyan Djalil, revealed that the government will withdrawal TNI troops from Aceh, provide security guarantees and amnesty to GAM members after the agreement is signed.

“If the [situation] is peaceful, the TNI has no problems withdrawing its troops except for the organic troops”, Basuki added. According to Basuki, organic troops are still needed in Aceh in the same way as other parts for the country, which is part of the territory of the Republic of Indonesia.

[Translated by James Balowski.]
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