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BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (Reuters) - Indonesia said on Thursday restrictions on aid workers in Aceh were for their own safety in a province troubled by a decades-old insurgency, and voiced readiness to sit down with the rebels to seek a cease-fire.
As aid agencies and Indonesian government officials put the limitations into effect, palpable signs emerged that the devastated region was beginning to pull itself together after the Dec. 26 earthquake and tsunami.
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia - Jordanian military doctors treat patients at a clinic inside a refugee camp, while Australian and German troops swarm around the city's main hospital making repairs. The buzz of U.S. military helicopters has become so routine it's now ignored
Foreign troops have been a key lifeline in the tsunami relief effort — and welcomed warmly in Aceh province despite its history of resistance to outside forces. Though the government says it wants foreign soldiers to leave by March 26, refugees say they hope the troops will stay as long as needed — provided they stick to aid work and don't establish permanent bases.
"If they leave, we will starve," said Syarwan, 27, a tailor who is now crowded with some 45 relatives under a tarp at a survivor camp in the provincial capital, Banda Aceh.