Troops begin Aceh pull-out amid hope of lasting peace
Almost 15,000 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in the often brutal struggle between Indonesian state forces and the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM).
The peace deal is the product of talks that came about after last year's Boxing Day tsunami, which killed at least 120,000 people in Aceh. It is being hailed as the best chance for peace since the conflict broke out.
Around 1,200 Indonesian troops left northern Aceh on board naval vessels yesterday in the first of a series of withdrawals. Indonesia has agreed to withdraw all security forces it sent specifically to fight the rebellion.
In return, GAM will give up its demands for independence and accept a form of local self-government. The rebels have agreed to hand over their weapons.
Placed under martial law and sealed off from the outside world, for years Aceh disappeared from international consciousness, apart from the warnings from human rights groups of brutal repression.
But with December's tsunami, all that changed. Faced with a major catastrophe in Aceh they could not cope with, the Indonesian authorities were forced to open up the province to international aid. The sudden interest put pressure on the two sides to talk.
Leaders from both sides also say the scale of the disaster forced them to rethink their attitudes to Aceh. Credit has been given too to President Susilo Bambang Yudhyono, elected last year, who has been prepared to compromise to resolve the conflict in a way his predecessors never were.
The government has agreed to GAM's demand that it be allowed to become a local political party.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 2 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 War is war: Why I stand with Israel
- 5 Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Ian Thorpe gay: Olympic swimmer comes out in Parkinson interview
Stephen Fry ‘criticises Operation Yewtree in dinner party rant’ calling for tougher laws to deter false sex abuse allegations
Israel-Gaza conflict: ‘Sderot cinema’ image shows Israelis with popcorn and chairs 'cheering as missiles strike Palestinian targets'
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli air strike destroys home for the disabled killing two women residents
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli PM says conflict may 'continue for a long time' as hundreds of Palestinians flee their homes
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Web Developer ...
£50000 - £67000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# R&D .NE...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...
£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...