12/21/2006, 00.00
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New peace observer in Aceh

InterPeace, an NGO chaired by former Finnish President Ahtisaari, opens its first office in the Indonesian province. Beginning next year and for four years, it will undertake reconstruction and peace-building projects.

Banda Aceh (AsiaNews) – On Tuesday it was announced that the ‘International Peace Building Alliance’ or InterPeace, chaired by former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, will become the official peace’s watchdog in the former civil war-torn of province of Aceh.

InterPeace official, Juha Christensen, said that the NGO would open its first office in Aceh and in Asia, specifying that the “NGO is not the official successor of Aceh Monitoring Mission (AMM) that has just finished their peace promotion mission here,” he said. This excludes any political role for the NGO.

AMM, set up by the European Union, ASEAN countries Norway and Switzerland, operated for more than a year, monitoring compliance with the peace accord by the Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) signed in August 2005. Its mandate ended on December 15 after the first elections were held in the province.

Before joining Interface, Christensen was a member of AMM.

The Geneva-based NGO will operate in the province for the next three to four years focusing on reconstruction and peace-building programmes.

Aceh was the most tsunami-affected region of Indonesia on December 24, 2004, with more than 160,000 dead.

The 30-year civil war left 15,000 dead, mostly civilians.

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