The Aug. 21 editorial "A Post-Tsunami Peace?" said Aceh became part of Indonesia when it was "annexed by force in 1950." That is untrue and an incorrect representation of history.
Indonesia was under Dutch colonial domination for 31/2 centuries. Aceh was one of the last regions in the archipelago conquered by the Dutch. But when an independence movement emerged in the colony in the early 20th century, Aceh was already a part of Netherlands East Indies, and the Acehnese were active in the movement. Aceh was already part of Indonesia at independence in 1945. It was also formally recognized as part of Indonesia under the transfer of sovereignty of 1949.
The fighting between the Indonesian central government and the Free Aceh Movement, which the editorial said has been going on for nearly 30 years, started even earlier, when a group of extremists attempted to force the young republic to become an Islamic state, an idea rejected by the Indonesian people.
The peace agreement recently signed in Helsinki is a realization of good faith demonstrated by both sides. Speculations about possible violations are unhelpful for the realization of the peace deal.
RIAZ J.P. SAEHU
Press and Information Division
Embassy of Indonesia