The fragile peace in Indonesia’s Aceh province could unravel as tensions mount ahead of landmark elections, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari warned Wednesday. The former Finnish president who helped negotiate the 2005 Helsinki agreement that ended Aceh’s 30-year separatist conflict said, that crucial elements of the pact had still not been implemented. He called for foreign monitors to observe the April 9 parliamentary elections amid rising political and criminal violence targeting politicians in the province on the northern tip of Sumatra island.
“Much work remains to be done in developing a national system that protects, sustains and improves the quality of life in Aceh,” he told about 200 delegates at the closing of a regional conference on conflict resolution late Tuesday.
“There are key challenges to be addressed if peace is to endure,” he added, citing a World Bank study showing that countries that have emerged from civil war have a 50 percent chance of relapsing into conflict after five years.
Ahtisaari, 71, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008 for spending more than 30 years helping to end conflicts in troublespots around the world, including in Kosovo, Namibia and Indonesia.