Aceh peace agreement was signed in Helsinki
Today is a historic day. The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement GAM represents a bold commitment towards a shared future. In essence, the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding provides for the democratic governance of Aceh by the Acehnese people within the unitary state of Indonesia.
By 15 September 2005, the European Union, together with five ASEAN states, will have a presence of some 250 monitors in Aceh. They will, among other things, monitor the implementation of disarmament and reintegration of GAM fighters into the society as well as the withdrawal of Indonesian non-organic military forces. The Aceh Monitoring Mission will be an unarmed civilian mission. This peaceful settlement of the conflict also greatly facilitates the reconstruction efforts in the aftermath of the tsunami disaster which affected Aceh more than any other region. The European Union has thus far committed some 600 million euros for the reconstruction work in Indonesia.
It gives me particular pleasure to announce that Finland participates in the Aceh Monitoring Mission by providing experts. The first contingent of experts has already been deployed to the region as a part of the EU Initial Monitoring Presence in Aceh. By mid-September, when the actual monitoring will begin, the total number of Finnish personnel will increase to some 35 experts. Finland has also expressed readiness to contribute to the training of the international monitors prior to the actual deployment.
I am impressed by the willingness of both Parties, the Government of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement, to tackle difficult and sensitive issues in an amicable manner and would like to express my appreciation to both Parties for their determination to make this peaceful solution possible.
I would also like to express our gratitude to President Martti Ahtisaari and his Crisis Management Initiative for their important role in facilitating the talks between the Parties. It has been a privilege for the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to have been able to offer Finland as the venue for this peace process.