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Volume 406: debated on Friday 23 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the situation in Aceh; and what discussions he has had with the UN and national governments on bringing a peaceful solution to conflict there. [115277]

We deeply regret the breakdown of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (COHA) following the failure by the Indonesian Government and Free Aceh Movement (GAM) to reach an agreement at a joint meeting in Tokyo on 17 to 18 May 2003. We are disappointed that the Indonesian Government have declared martial law in Aceh, which has resulted in military action against the GAM.In a joint statement with the Australian Foreign Minister on 20 May 2003, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary called on the Indonesian armed forces to ensure full respect for human rights, and to show maximum restraint while they carry out their operations in Aceh.The British Government together with EU partners, the US, Japan and the World bank have all urged both the Indonesian Government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) to resume peaceful negotiations. We believe that dialogue is the best way to achieve a long-term peaceful political solution to the problems in Aceh. We and the international community as a whole support Indonesia"s territorial integrity.