Moluccas: bomb blasts but peace deal holds

 Although a number of bomb blasts hit Indonesia's Moluccan islands at the end of last week, the peace treaty signed between Muslims and Christians is still holding, according to missionary news sources. There were no reported casualties. The treaty was signed on after a series of meetings on Sulawesi Island, where similar talks in December led to Muslims and Christians agreeing to surrender their weapons. Both sides are reported to have agreed to an immediate end to the violence. The peace deal includes:The surrender of all weapons:the setting up of joint security patrols;the return of tens of thousands of refugees to their villages; plans to rebuild destroyed towns and villages; the setting up of joint commissions for security, social and economic affairs. While a statement posted on the website of the paramilitaries said the Muslim delegates at the talks did not represent the people of the province, senior government officials said they were still hopeful the peace deal would succeed. Indonesia's vice-president Hamzah Haz said he thought the attacks were an obvious attempt to undermine the peace accord, but he believed that because so many from all factions had signed the treaty, future troubles could be contained. More than 5,000 people have died in the violence which erupted between the two communities in January 1999. There are about the same number of Christians and Muslims in the Moluccas, while Indonesia as a whole is 85% Muslim.

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