President praises peace and development achieved in Aceh

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has praised the peace and economic achievements in Aceh, calling on the public to continue developing the province that was once torn apart by civil war.

"My wife and I are happy and grateful to see the charm of Banda Aceh, where we see a busy economy. It is far different from the situation during the past conflict," President Yudhoyono wrote on his twitter account on Saturday.

He said Aceh had passed through a long journey in which many victims had fallen. "There should be no more actions which could incite new conflicts," the head of state added.

On Friday, the President noted that the conflict in Aceh lasted 30 years, during which people could not live peacefully and securely and development efforts were hindered.

"Eight years ago we were able to end the conflict in Aceh. It was because of our patience and hard work. In view of that, maintain and preserve the peace," he urged the public here on Friday.

He added that he became involved in helping bring peace to Aceh in 2000 and, since then, there have been successes and failures.

"As one of the actors in the history of creating peace in Aceh, I had experienced a lot of things, successes as well as failures in the effort to create peace in Aceh," he said.

Finally, he said, on August 15, 2005 peace was achieved when the two sides, the Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), agreed to end the conflict in the region.

Therefore, he called upon all sides to maintain peace and security in the province.

"Aceh has been secure and peaceful. It should no longer be torn or threatened for whatever reasons. All should look ahead and avoid setbacks," he said.

On his twitter account, the President also wrote about his impression of former Free Aceh Movement (GAM) commander Irfan, who provided the President with a souvenir sword, inscribed "one heart, one word. We are all brothers within the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI)."

President Yudhoyono was paying a two-day working visit to Aceh on Thursday and Friday.