The Statement of the Government of Japan
The Preparatory Conference on Peace and Reconstruction
In Aceh
(December 3, 2002)

As a long-time friend of Indonesia, Japan has been consistently supporting a peaceful resolution of the Aceh conflict. Our call for a peaceful resolution of the Aceh conflict comes from our belief that peace in Aceh is indispensable for the stability and the development of democracy in Indonesia. We believe that the Aceh conflict truly needs to be resolved through peaceful means and that the territorial integrity of Indonesia should be maintained and human rights should be rigorously protected.

Currently, the dialogue between the Government of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) is taking place to achieve peace in Aceh. We understand that this dialogue is close to its completion. We strongly urge both the Government of Indonesia and GAM to complete the negotiation and to sign the proposed Framework Agreement on Cessession of Hostilities on December 9 as scheduled. This agreement includes in particular a monitoring mechanism. It is critically important that both parties abide by the agreement and implement what is spelled out by the agreement fully and effectively. At the same time, we should be fully aware that there are many issues remaining to be settled after the agreement is signed. The efforts to be made by the Government of Indonesia and GAM to build mutual trust are indispensable. Particularly important is to create and implement a series of programs to overcome the past adverse legacy and to build a democratic governing mechanism in Aceh. As for the international community, we deem it very important that we encourage both parties involved to achieve peace and give support to the monitoring mechanism and to the peace process as a whole, through financial and humanitarian contributions.

Once peace is achieved, the reconstruction and development of Aceh can be started. The international community, while encouraging Indonesia's self-help efforts, should unite and assist to transform Aceh from the area of conflict to that of peace and prosperity. At the same time, there must be a effective, transparent and democratic mechanism, which can truly reflects the aspirations of the people of Aceh so that the existing resources be invested for reconstruction and development. Such a mechanism is extremely important for the international community to provide assistance to rebuild the region.

Since the 1970s, Japan has been at the forefront of extending economic assistance to Aceh, and its total amount is more than 700 million US dollars. Among many projects, the Syah Kuala University Development Project which started in 1991 has been contributing to the development of human resources through its scholarship programs as well as the expansion and improvements of its school buildings. In addition, Japan has given a number of small-scale grant assistance in order to build and renovate orphanages, elementary schools, and Islamic boarding schools, and to help internally displaced persons. However, one of Japan's projects, the Peusangan Hydroelectric Power Project for stable supply of electricity in Aceh, has unfortunately been suspended due to the conflict. Japan, as a major donor to Indonesia, is prepared to help Aceh's reconstruction and development once peace is achieved.

As for short-term measures, Japan is ready to consider extending food aid programs through WFP and other emergency humanitarian aid for victims of the conflict and internally displaced persons, quick impact projects for rehabilitation of rural infrastructure, and assistance to demobilization of combatants. As for medium to long-term measures, Japan will consider offering support for projects which aim at strengthening administrative capacity of the local government, human resources development, improvement of large-scale infrastructure, development of small and medium scale enterprises, and community development.

In order for each country and agency to effectively assist the reconstruction of Aceh, there should be an assessment of both short-term and long-term needs of Aceh and coordination among the donors and between donors and the Government of Indonesia. For this reason, we propose to dispatch a mission consisting mainly, but not limited, of various international agencies to assess the needs in the region as soon as the agreement is signed. In addition, in order for each donor to effectively provide assistance to Indonesia by utilizing respective uniqueness or specialty in responding to the development needs of Aceh, a coordination mechanism between donors and Government of Indonesia would be indispensable. To this end, we also propose to establish a coordination mechanism, which utilizes the CGI framework under the leadership of the World Bank and includes international humanitarian aid agencies.

The prospect for peace gives us an immense hope for the reconstruction and development of Aceh. We wish to urge all parties involved in the conflict to make their utmost efforts for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

Co-Chairmen's Summary
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