Indonesia's withdrawal of troops from Aceh province has been welcomed as a important step towards a lasting peace. The pull-out was the final military move in a peace deal agreed with rebels from the Free Aceh Movement (Gam) aimed at ending 26 years of bitter conflict. The chief international mediator behind the peace process, Maarti Ahtisaari, told the BBC he was impressed by the good faith shown by both sides. Indonesia's media also widely commends what it calls a "new phase" for peace. The peace deal finally came together following the tsunami a year ago, which devastated large parts of the province. Hundreds of people gathered on the dockside in Aceh's Lhokseumawe port on Thursday to witness a short ceremony marking the troop withdrawal. It marked the final pull-out of some 24,000 government soldiers, leaving only local troops and police in Aceh
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