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Aceh Rebels Reject Indonesian Government's Compromise Offer


A separatist group fighting Indonesian troops in Aceh has rejected the government's offer to let rebel leaders run for political office, but only as part of existing political parties.

A Free Aceh Movement spokesman said Friday at peace talks in Helsinki, Finland that if the rebel group agreed to the offer, it would mean the organization was given privileges not available to others in Aceh. The spokesman says that is not acceptable.

On Thursday, Indonesia's government proposed that Aceh rebels be allowed to field candidates in existing political parties, but not as a new party. The proposal would require a change in Indonesian law, which says parties must have representation in at least half of the country's 32 provinces.

The current round of peace talks is scheduled to end Sunday.

Some information for this story provided by Reuters and AP.

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