Select Committee on European Scrutiny Thirty-Seventh Report


53 Common Foreign and Security Policy: Aceh Monitoring Mission

(27766)

12165/06


(27767)

12166/06

Council Joint Action amending and extending Joint Action 2005/643/CFSP on the European Union Monitoring Mission in Aceh (Indonesia) (Aceh Monitoring Mission — AMM).

Council Decision concerning the extension of the Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the European Union and the Government of Indonesia on the tasks, status, privileges and immunities of the European Union Monitoring Mission in Aceh (Indonesia) (Aceh Monitoring Mission — AMM) and its personnel.

Legal baseArticles 14 & 24 TEU; unanimity
Deposited in Parliament4 September 2006
DepartmentForeign and Commonwealth Office
Basis of considerationEM of 4 September 2006
Previous Committee ReportNone; but see HC 34-xxxiv (2005-06), para 11 (5 July 2006)
To be discussed in CouncilSeptember General Affairs and External Relations Council
Committee's assessmentPolitically important
Committee's decisionCleared, but further information requested

Background

53.1 On 9 September 2005 the Council adopted a Joint Action establishing the Aceh Monitoring Mission (AMM) which became operational on 15 September 2005. At the request of the Government of Indonesia (GoI), and with the support of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), the mission is monitoring implementation of a peace accord between the two parties. We cleared this on 12 October 2005 with a Report to the House.[136]

53.2 On 7 June 2006, the AMM was extended from 15 June to 15 September, to allow a continued monitoring presence in Aceh until local elections, then expected to take place by September. The total size of the AMM was reduced from around 200 to 88 EU and ASEAN country monitors, reflecting the fact that some of the mission's tasks had already been completed.

53.3 Then, on 7 August, the Minister for Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr Ian McCartney) wrote to alert us to the Indonesian request for a further extension. In his helpful Explanatory Memorandum of 4 September 2006, the Minister now explains that:

—  before the local elections could be organised, the Indonesian parliament (as mandated by the peace agreement) needed to pass legislation covering certain terms of the peace agreement;

—  due to the length of time which was taken first over consultation on the draft, and then by debate in the relevant parliamentary committee, the legislation was not passed until 11 July;

—  following this, there was further consultation, including over the local regulations which will determine the detail of how the legislation is implemented;

—  this meant that it would not be possible to hold the local elections in September; and

—  the local elections have now been fixed to take place on 11 December.

53.4 As a consequence, he says, on 21 July the Indonesian government requested a further extension to the AMM, until 15 December, to continue to support stability in the province and to facilitate contacts between the government and GAM in the pre-election period, which was supported by GAM. He further explains that the extended AMM will operate in parallel with an EU election observer mission (EOM), and will focus on resolving any tensions which arise in the run-up to the elections — "something which the EU EOM would not have a mandate to do". Additionally, he says that the mission "will also be further slimmed down, leaving a small team in the headquarters in Banda Aceh, and two district offices, one on the west coast and one in the east, covered by mobile monitoring teams. ASEAN countries plan to continue seconding personnel. The mission will then draw down until 28 February."

The Government's view

53.5 The Minister says that all Member States are agreed that a short extension of the mission is desirable. He says:

"Although popular confidence in the peace process is growing (a recent survey showed that 67.1% of Acehnese expressed satisfaction with the current situation in Aceh, including over 60% in GAM strongholds), it will be important that confidence is maintained during the pre-election period, and any potential tensions quickly defused. The UK government supports an extension of the mission to do this. We are pleased that the Indonesian government has now confirmed that the elections will take place in mid-December, meaning that no further extension will be necessary."

53.6 On the Financial Implications, the Minister says;

"the UK contributed 10 monitors to the first phase of the AMM, and 8 for the second. We envisage seconding 4 for the final stage, at a cost of some £60,000. This comes from the Peacekeeping budget, a call on the Treasury's central reserve. Mission running costs come from the CFSP budget to which the UK contributes about 17%. An additional budget of 1,530,000 euro has been requested to cover the extension and draw down. For ease of comparison, the total committed to this mission in 2005 and 2006 was 9,300,000 euro."

53.7 The Minister says that he expects this Joint Action to be agreed at the September GAERC. It was in fact agreed on 7 September 2006.

Conclusion

53.8 The only concern that we had was that this mission — the first of its kind, being in Asia and with Asian partners — would find itself becoming open-ended, and at a time when the Common Foreign and Security Policy budget is under strain. We are accordingly pleased that it is now clearly time-limited.

53.9 We are content that, in the circumstances, the Minister did not hold up agreement in the absence of parliamentary scrutiny, and clear the documents.

53.10 We should be grateful if, once the mission is concluded, the Minister would write to us with his assessment of the outcome of the political process and the mission's contribution to it.


136   HC 34-v (2005-06), para 40 (12 October 2005). Back


 
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