Indonesia: Aceh peace won't come quickly, expert warns

An Indonesia expert says it will take some months after the introduction of the Aceh peace treaty for conflict in the province to start winding down.

The University of Sydney's Dr Edward Aspinall says the treaty agreed to by the Indonesian Government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) is the biggest breakthrough between the two parties to date.

Although the details will not be released until the agreement is formally signed next month, Dr Aspinall says the key factor is the compromise reached on political participation by local parties.

Even if the treaty proceeds successfully, Dr Aspinall warns that in the short term there may be an increase in violence.

"Various legislative changes will have to take place, the Free Aceh Movement will have to disarm, there will be the gradual removal of troops from the province, this will take many months I think," he said.

"And in fact it's likely that in the transitional phase there might even be a slight increase in vilolence.

"I don't think this will translate directly or immediately into a cease of violence."

Dr Aspinall says the key advance on a previous treaty derailed two years ago is the compromise on political participation.

"The political situation is agreed upon at least in broad outline before the cease-fire, so hopefully a lot of that suspicion which accompanied the cease-fire a couple of years ago at least won't be so severe this time around," he said.

"This is by far the biggest breakthrough there has been so far in various attempts to achieve a peaceful solution to the conflict there over the last few years."


Australian Broadcasting Corporation