Peace Pact Between Indonesian Christians and Muslims in Sulawesi

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 21, 2001 (ZENIT.orgFides).- Christian and Muslim leaders in Indonesia signed a peace pact Thursday pledging to end three years of hostilities in the island of Sulawesi.

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After two days of talks, mediated by People´s Welfare Minister Jusuf Kalla, the parties signed a 10-point statement in Malino.

Among other things, they promised to cease all conflict and disputes, and to reject interference from foreigners and outsiders, including militia of the Laskar Jihad. Recent clashes in the region have produced more than 50,000 refugees.

The conflicting sides also agreed to set up two joint commissions: one to deal with questions of law and order, the other with social and economic conditions.

This is the fifth time the sides reach an agreement. The respective leaders say the previous pacts were unsuccessful because the field commanders of militias were not present.

The Christian delegates included two Catholic priests, Father Jimmy Tumbelaka and Father Herman Umbas of the Manado Diocese. Taking part as observers were Bishop Joseph Suwatan of Manado and Archbishop John Liku Ada of Makasser, delegates of the Indonesian Catholic Bishops´ Conference.

Meanwhile, violence continued this week in the nearby Moluccas. On Sunday, nine Christian passengers on a boat were shot dead. Christians in Ambon have protested to the local authorities and called on the central Indonesian government to intervene.

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