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Indonesia Working on Permanent Solution to Aceh Rebellion

Indonesia's vice president says his government will move beyond cease-fire talks with separatist rebels in Aceh province and work toward a permanent solution to the dispute. The vice president made the remark during a visit to the tsunami-hit area.

Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla says his government wants to end once and for all the 30-year-old conflict with separatist rebels of the Free Aceh Movement, or GAM.

"We are not going for a cease-fire. We are going to finish the whole conflict," he said.

Speaking after Friday prayers, Mr. Kalla said he wants a formal end to the conflict rather than a cease-fire, which he characterized as a temporary measure.

The decades-old conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and brought charges of severe human rights violations against both rebels and the military. A military crackdown has been under way for two years, since the collapse of an earlier cease-fire.

The two sides announced an informal suspension of hostilities after the recent earthquake and tsunami devastated the region.

Hundreds of relief agencies and thousands of volunteers have poured into Aceh province since the earthquake and tsunami struck last month, killing 100,000 people in Aceh alone.

The Indonesian government, saying the rebels posed a security threat, has announced it wants foreign aid workers and journalists to advise the military of their movements outside the province's major cities.

International aid groups say they will cooperate with the government, but hope the measures will not delay emergency relief shipments, which are only beginning to arrive in areas that were cut off by destructive waves.

Meanwhile, the Secretary-General of the Indonesian Council of Ulema, Din Samsudin, has reacted strongly to a report that a U.S. Christian missionary group was trying to place 300 Acehnese orphans in a Christian children's home in Jakarta. The effort was reported Thursday by the U.S.-based Washington Post newspaper.

"We strongly protest and condemn the taking of about 300 Acehnese children by one Christian fundamentalist group," Mr. Samsudin said.

Speaking after Friday prayers in Banda Aceh, Mr. Samsudin called on the Indonesian government to return the children to their home region and expel the organization.

However, the missionary group planning to move the children, WorldHelp, reported that it had dropped the plan after criticism followed the newspaper report. WorldHelp said it had not yet moved the children to Jakarta, despite initially claiming that it had.