JAKARTA - The Indonesian Government says it hopes to be in talks with the Free Aceh separatist movement (GAM) in Aceh before the end of the month. Indonesia's Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda said there must be a silver lining to the catastrophe and he said contacts were already being established to re-start peace negotiations with GAM rebels in Aceh. He said no time or location had been fixed for direct talks.
In a number of areas, visited by the ABC, GAM forces appear still intact. The Government has called a ceasefire during the tsunami relief project and GAM has repeatedly urged the international agencies to remain in the province. In any case, the collapse of roads and other government infrastructure in many areas on the west coast has essentially denied the Government any ability to reach rebel controlled ground.