Indonesia

Indonesian govt to continue peace talks with GAM

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JAKARTA, Jun 21, 2005 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Indonesian Minister of Justice and Human Rights Hamid Awaluddin asserted Tuesday that the government will join the last round of peace negotiations with the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) in Helsinki on July 12-14.

"The president's commitment must go on. it means that we welcome and will join the last round of peace talks," Hamid told reporters after a meeting to discuss the Helsinki talks at the vice president's office.

The government's negotiating team will sharpen issues to be brought to the Helsinki meeting, said Hamid, who is also the chief negotiator of the Indonesian delegation for the talks with GAM.

"We will discuss the substance of what is to be discussed at the meeting, such as what measures can be taken if peace is achieved and the amnesty that will be offered to GAM's members," he said.

The talks will be facilitated by the Helsinki-based Crisis Management Initiative (CMI).

"Our position is that the meeting with GAM is a must," he said.

About 90 percent of the problems between the government and the GAM were settled during their fourth round talks from May 26 to May 30. Some members of the House of Parliament once demanded that the talks end as most issues were settled.

The GAM has waged a guerrilla war since 1976, fighting for independence and accusing the government of exploiting the province's natural resources.

More than 12,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since then.