Indonesia, there appears to be a serious misunderstanding of
the United States position on Acheh.'
States supports a negotiated settlement of the conflict in
Acheh and is concerned by measures that could jeopardize the
We are writing to convey our deep concern about reports that
the Indonesian military is preparing for a major offensive
against armed rebels in Acheh. Such an offensive would
threaten to derail negotiations that have been taking place
between Indonesian Government officials and members of the
Free Acheh Movement (GAM) in Banda Acheh. In addition it would
inevitably cause civilian casualties and end up
strengthening, not weakening, popular support for GAM.
The Indonesian Defense Minister and senior military
officials have said they only plan 'limited military
operations'. However, the reports of the personnel and
equipment being sent to Acheh suggest that what is
contemplated is an attempt to crush the rebellion by
military means without addressing the underlying causes.
Some Indonesian officials have reportedly suggested that the
rationale for sending additional troops is to enable
Exxon-Mobile, which recently closed three of its gas fields
in Acheh, to resume operations.
Within Indonesia, there appears to be a serious
misunderstanding of the United States position on Acheh.
Repeated statements by US officials of support for
Indonesia's territorial integrity have been treated by some
Indonesian officials as a green light for the planned
We therefore believe it is essential that the Department of
State clarify publicly the Administration's position on Acheh
as soon as possible. We urge you to make clear that the
a negotiated settlement of the conflict in Acheh and is
concerned by measures that could jeopardize the talks;
oppose actions by either side likely to lead to
violations of human rights;
not endorse the planned offensive which if carried out
would place additional barriers to resuming assistance
to the Indonesian military; and
deeply concerned by the growing number of displaced
persons in Acheh and is exploring ways to get
humanitarian aid to those in need.
Thank you for your
The signatories are:
Senator Patrick Leahy, Democrat
Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat
Senator James M Jeffords, Republican
Senator Robert G. Torricelli, Democrat
Senator Edward M Kennady, Democrat
Senantor Russell D. Feingold, Democrat
Senator Paul Wellstone, Democrat