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Indonesia Says Foreign Troops Should Leave Aceh by March

  • VOA News

Indonesia says troops from foreign countries should leave tsunami-ravaged Aceh province by the end of March. Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla made the announcement Wednesday, saying he would like troops to leave sooner if possible. The Indonesian military says until then, it will continue to coordinate aid deliveries, and local troops will escort humanitarian workers in rural areas of the war-torn province. A White House spokesman (Scott McClellan) said Wednesday the United States is seeking clarification of the statement, and hopes Indonesia will keep supporting international relief efforts. Earlier, foreign aid workers and journalists in Aceh were asked to register with authorities if they plan to go outside the hard-hit cities of Banda Aceh or Meulaboh. Officials say rebels in the province pose a danger -- a charge the rebels deny. Relief efforts continue throughout southern Asia as thousands of foreign troops and aid workers search for bodies, clean up wreckage and treat the injured and sick.

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