The two sides said on Saturday after talks in Helsinki that they would meet again soon.
After three decades of fighting that has claimed 12,000
lives, Jakarta and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) put aside differences to discuss the humanitarian crisis in Aceh, where more than 100,000 people died or disappeared in the tsunami.
The scale of the tragedy prompted ceasefire offers, and
Indonesia sent its most senior delegation so far to meet the GAM's exiled leaders, who have been based in Stockholm since 1976.
Jakarta is offering limited autonomy for the gas-rich province of four million people on the northern tip of the island of Sumatra. The GAM has rejected that in the past, but the Finnish mediators said it formed the basis of these talks.
"We have an in-principle agreement to meet again in the near
future to discuss a comprehensive peace settlement under the
umbrella of self-autonomy," Indonesia's information minister, Sofyan Djalil, said in Helsinki.
The Finnish mediator, former President Martti Ahtisaari, who
has previously brokered peace in conflict zones such as Kosovo, told a news conference that the next round of Helsinki talks would happen soon: "I don't expect it to take months."
He said that after such a long conflict it was not realistic
for such foes to "start loving each other" so soon.
GAM Prime Minister Malik Mahmud, while speaking of differences that need to be ironed out, went as far as to say that the two delegations had formed a close relationship.
The military says it has killed
200 fighters since the tsunami
"We concentrated more on humanitarian issues and ceasefire to allow the humanitarian operation in Aceh to go smoothly," the GAM leader said.
It is unknown how much influence the GAM leaders have
with the fighters in the jungles of Aceh, after their long exile
in Sweden with the ailing octogenarian sultan Hasan di Tiro,
whom they consider their rightful head of state.
Some in the Muslim province have expressed scepticism about implementing a peace accord, and Indonesia's military says it has killed more than 200 GAM fighters since the tsunami, despite all the ceasefire rhetoric.
But Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who made a 2004 election promise to win peace, said there was "great momentum" for peace, telling CNBC television: "I will give some concessions to them. I will give them a kind of amnesty and I will bring them in as part of society building in Aceh."