Helsinki hosted Aceh talks

Helsinki hosted in January a new round of talks between the Indonesian government and rebel leaders from Aceh Province to consider a possible cease-fire and to reopen the peace process which has been stalled since May 2003.
     Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said in Jakarta that he hoped to win peace by offering ”special autonomy status.” However, the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) has previously rejected limited autonomy for the province on the northern tip of Sumatra island.
     Indonesia Rebels in Aceh Province said they were willing to put their demand for secession on hold if Indonesia accepted a “face-saving” formula that would allow the tsunami-hit region to hold an independence referendum within 5 to 10 years.
     The talks in Helsinki ended inconclusively and early, both sides have said negotiations would resume on Feb. 21
     Back in Jakarta, Widodo Adi Sucipto, the security minister who led the Indonesian delegation at the Helsinki talks, said the government remained committed to the peace process but would continue with military operations until a permanent solution is agreed on.

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