Aceh's Experience Offers Broader Lessons for Making Peace

Indonesia’s President Yudhoyono reflects on the first year of peace in Aceh and offers a number of insights that appear to be applicable to conflicts around the world:

  • A military solution could not bring permanent peace to Aceh.
  • Every conflict is amenable to a peaceful political solution.
  • But no political solution can be lasting unless both sides stand to gain. Win-win solutions can be only obtained through hard bargaining based on a spirit of compromise.
  • For peace to be permanent, it must be built on human security, political reconciliation, social unity, and economic reconstruction. The absence of any of these elements could undermine peace.
  • The quest for peace involves great political risk, sometimes more risk than the waging of war.
  • In fighting for peace, leaders must project courage, determination and sincerity.
  • Windows of opportunity must not be missed; they come very rarely and—like the tsunami—sometimes in the deceptive form of a crisis.

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, “Building Permanent Peace in Aceh,” International Herald Tribune, 14 August 2006.
Link: www.iht.com/articles/2006/08/14/opinion/edbambang.php.
For further reflections on what made peace possible in Aceh, see the article by the facilitator of the peace negotiations and the head of the international monitoring mission, respectively: Martti Ahtisaari and Pieter Feith, “Where There is a Will, There is a Way,” Jakarta Post, 16 August 2006.
Link: www.thejakartapost.com/detailheadlines.asp?fileid=20060815.A03&irec=2.