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Last Updated: Friday, 15 December 2006, 07:31 GMT
Peace monitors end Aceh mission
A woman votes at a polling station near Banda Aceh
The move follows Aceh's first direct local elections on 11 December
EU-led peace monitors have formally ended their mission in the Indonesian province of Aceh following successful local and gubernatorial elections.

The monitors have been overseeing a 2005 peace deal between the government and armed separatists, which saw rebels exchange weapons for a political role.

Both sides have stuck to the agreement, which brought to an end 29 years of conflict that left 15,000 people dead.

The peace deal followed the devastation of the 2004 Asian tsunami.

The scale of the disaster - which killed 170,000 people in Aceh - spurred the rebels and the government into peace talks.

Under the Helsinki deal of 2005, rebels gave up a demand for independence after winning autonomy and the right to participate fully in democratic elections.

It paved the way for gubernatorial and local polls, which took place on 11 December.

'Sad but happy'

The Aceh Monitoring Mission (AMM) brought its work to an end with a brief ceremony in the provincial capital, Banda Aceh.

Irwandi Yusuf
Irwandi Yusuf is expected to be confirmed as governor in January

Minister of Justice and Human Rights Hamid Awaluddin said he was "sad that his friends are leaving, but happy because it means the mission has been successful".

Many Acehnese say they are impressed with the AMM's achievements in building dialogue between government representatives and those they were fighting 18 months ago, says the BBC's Lucy Williamson in Jakarta.

But there are still issues that need to be resolved; allegations of human rights abuses committed during the 30-year conflict need to be investigated and thousands of former separatist fighters reintegrated back into their villages.

The AMM is leaving as the new spirit of dialogue in Aceh faces a further test, our correspondent says.

The gubernatorial elections seem to have swept to power former separatist Irwandi Yusuf.

He has made clear his priority will be to secure every aspect of the autonomy Aceh was promised in the peace agreement last year, something he says Jakarta's current law on Aceh does not do.

There could be stormy times ahead for the relationship between Aceh and Jakarta, and many in the province are hoping the foundations laid during the AMM's tenure here will be deep enough to weather them, our correspondent adds.

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Former Aceh fighters face ballot box
11 Dec 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Q&A: Aceh governor election
11 Dec 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Aceh wary over new Sharia police
08 Dec 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Viewpoints: Aceh's first elections
06 Dec 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Acehnese mark one year of peace
15 Aug 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Timeline: Indonesia
18 Jul 06 |  Country profiles

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