The European Union (EU) agreed on Thursday to extend the EU-led monitoring mission in Aceh, Indonesia by three months until Dec. 15 this year.
The European Council said in a statement Thursday that both the Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) have indicated their support for such an extension.
The mission was set up on Sept. 15 last year by the EU and five countries from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to monitor implementation of the peace agreement set out in the memorandum of understanding signed by the Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement in August last year.
The EU will earmark 1.53 million euros (about 1.96 U.S. dollars) for the three-month extension, the council said.
Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, welcomed the decision to extend the Aceh monitoring mission.
"In view of the remarkable progress in the Aceh peace process, which we have helped to achieve, it seems clear that it is our obligation to respond positively to the request from the government of Indonesia, with the full support of the Free Aceh Movement leadership, to a final extension of the joint EU-ASEAN mission in Aceh until December," he said.
Continued implementation of the memorandum of understanding signed in August last year becomes more important now as the people of Aceh are preparing for their first ever direct and democratic local elections to be held on Dec. 11 this year, Solana said. The EU will further support these elections by sending an election observation team to conduct the monitoring of the elections, he said.