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Monday, 25 September, 2000, 13:10 GMT 14:10 UK
Aceh truce extended
Acehnese separatist rebels take a break from ceasefire duty
Tension has eased since talks began
The Indonesian Government and rebels from the province of Aceh have agreed to extend a ceasefire until mid-January next year.

The agreement was reached at talks between both sides in Geneva.

President Abdurrahman Wahid
President Wahid has offered concessions
Both sides have also agreed to continue talks to settle two decades of violence that has killed 2,000 people with thousands more tortured or raped.

A joint statement said they had "agreed to enter exploratory talks in order to arrive at a lasting and comprehensive political solution for Aceh".

But within hours of the agreement, violence flared again with security forces shooting four people dead in the province.

Police said they were separatist guerrillas, but villagers said they were unarmed civilians.

There were also reports that two policemen and a boy were injured by unidentified gunmen in a separate incident.

Limited autonomy

The rebels have been fighting for an independent Muslim state.

The government and rebels are expected to continue their talks in November but no timetable has been given.

The head of the Aceh rebel delegation, Zaini Abdullah, said things were at an early stage.

"We have agreed to enter political negotiations with Indonesia but we are at a very early stage. A lot depends on how the ceasefire is implemented on the ground," he said.

"It's too soon to talk about details of any political negotiation," he added.

The talks are backed by the International Committee of the Red Cross and a Swiss advocacy group, the Henri Dunant Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.

President Abdurrahman Wahid has offered more autonomy for Aceh and a greater share of its own wealth.

But he has however ruled out independence, fearing more separatist rebellions after last year's vote for independence in East Timor.

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See also:

12 May 00 | Asia-Pacific
Aceh: First step to peace
25 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Violence flares across Indonesia
20 Apr 00 | Asia-Pacific
Indonesia military 'out of politics'
25 Nov 99 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Indonesia needs Aceh
09 Feb 00 | Asia-Pacific
Indonesian forces clash with Aceh rebels
25 Jan 00 | Asia-Pacific
Wahid visits troubled province
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