Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 4th May 2004.

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Photo of Menzies Campbell Menzies Campbell Shadow Secretary of State (Foreign Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the recent violence in Aceh.

Photo of Jack Straw Jack Straw Foreign Secretary

The British Government regularly raise their concerns about the situation in Aceh with the Indonesian Government, most recently on 20 April 2004 when the British ambassador to Jakarta called on the Indonesian Head of the armed forces, General Sutarto. My hon. Friend the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Mike O'Brien) also raised Aceh with the Indonesian Foreign Minister, Dr. Wirayuda, when he met him at the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Kildare on 18 April.

There continue to be reports of human rights abuses perpetrated by the Free Aceh Movement (the GAM) and the Indonesian armed forces. We are monitoring the situation closely. The Indonesian military has said that it will continue to court-martial soldiers arrested on suspicion of human rights abuses.

We, with our EU partners, continue to urge the Indonesian Government to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible, as only negotiation will offer a long-term solution to this ongoing conflict.

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