The European Union pledged Friday to keep up its support for a peace deal that has halted nearly three decades of fighting in Indonesia 's tsunami-ravaged Aceh province. Javier Solana, the EU's security affairs and foreign policy chief, said he was encouraged by the agreement so far, and that the deal's next phase local elections will be very important.
"You can be sure that we will accompany you in whatever you need until the end," he said at a news conference, where he appeared alongside Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda. "We are very pleased to have a decent cooperation with Indonesia ." Under the peace deal signed in Helsinki in August, Aceh rebels dropped their independence demand. In December they surrendered the last of their weapons and disbanded their military wing.
Indonesia 's government, for its part, withdrew nearly half of its 50,000 troops from Aceh, granted amnesty to rebel prisoners and will soon pass laws giving the region greater self-government. The EU is funding and providing monitors to a peacekeeping mission overseeing the agreement.
It recently extended its mission there by three months until June 15. Solana was set to visit Aceh on Saturday to review post-tsunami reconstruction and meet representatives from both sides of the conflict, reports the AP.
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