Aceh monitoring mission reduces personnel ahead of elections

An international peace monitoring mission in Indonesia's formerly rebellious province of Aceh has cut the number of personnel to 36 from 85 and disbanded the district chapters, the group announced Monday.

Established after the government and the Free Aceh Movement ( GAM) signed a truce last August, the Aceh Monitoring Mission (AMM) will maintain its presence until Dec. 15, days after the province holds its first direct elections, AMM spokesman Faye Belnis was quoted by the country's leading news website Detikcom as saying.

"The AMM will remains in Aceh and get involved in the peace process until Dec. 15, 2006, at the request of the Indonesian government and with full support from GAM," Belnis said.

The AMM will facilitate international arrivals during the provincial elections slated on Dec. 11, when the Acehnese will elect its governor and legislative members, but it will not monitor the elections because they are beyond its mandate.

"A separate election monitoring mission from the European Union parliament and the European Commission has been invited by the Indonesian government to monitor the elections," Belnis said.

The AMM is a civilian mission comprising unarmed personnel from the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Source: Xinhua



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