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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 December 2005, 06:05 GMT
Final round of Aceh disarmament
By Rachel Harvey
BBC News, Jakarta

Members of the Free Aceh Movement hand over their weapons. File photo
The weapons are being handed over to international monitors
Rebels in the Indonesian province of Aceh have begun handing in the remainder of their weapons.

The fourth and final round of decommissioning is expected to last around four days.

After this, the last of the Indonesian troops and police reinforcements sent to the province will be withdrawn.

The moves are part of a peace deal between rebels of the Free Aceh Movement (Gam) and the government which ended 26 years of bitter conflict.

Football match

In theory the deadline for the decommissioning of rebel weapons is the end of the year.

Gam gives up all 840 of its weapons in four stages
Government matches that by withdrawing some 24,000 troops in four stages
Disarmament and withdrawal to be complete by 31 December
Government facilitates Aceh-based political parties
Amnesty granted to Gam members
Truth and reconciliation commission established
Aceh monitoring mission set up by EU and Asean

But there has always been another date in mind - 26 December, the anniversary of the tsunami disaster which destroyed huge swathes of Aceh and killed about 260,000 people.

It was the tsunami which prompted the two sides to get back to the negotiating table.

So far the peace process has gone far more smoothly than anyone expected but there are major obstacles ahead.

The first is integrating former rebels back into civilian life. The other is the political future of the province.

Under the terms of the agreement the Gam should be allowed to form a local political party but that requires a change in the law which must be approved by parliament in Jakarta.

It is likely to be a lengthy and potentially acrimonious process.

But an event due to take place on Wednesday evening shows how much things have already changed in Aceh.

The international monitors overseeing the decommissioning process have challenged the rebels to a football match.

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