Finland’s ex-President Martti Ahtisaari said he had invited the two sides back for more discussions.

“I will be working with the parties to try to get an agreement (on this), it will take some time, but I don’t expect it to take months.”

“The aim must be in this process to find a comprehensive settlement on the basis on the special autonomy, there is no other offer at the table,” Mr Ahtisaari said.

Indonesia emerged from the talks saying a clearer agenda was needed for dialogue.

As the talks were in progress Indonesian troops killed four guerrillas in a new skirmish in tsunami-hit Aceh.

The leader of the Indonesian delegation, senior security minister Widodo Adi Sucipto said while Jakarta had “never closed the doors for dialogue” there would be no progress unless both sides agreed on a framework.

“Should there be more dialogue, the future talks have to provide a clear prospect for a solution,” he told Indonesia’s SCTV television station.

“Therefore there has to be an agenda and substance that must be jointly agreed before we move on to the factual talks,” he added.

Indonesia has rejected point blank rebel demands for independence, offering special autonomy and amnesties instead. The rebels have yet to publicly respond to the offer.

Even if a deal can be reached, it could be difficult to persuade Indonesia’s wilful military to abandon is fight in Aceh, while the fractious rebels may ignore directives from their leaders exiled in Sweden.

Both sides have already pledged to focus on humanitarian efforts in Aceh, where an enormous international relief operation is underway to help hundreds of thousands of tsunami victims.

But as the talks were underway Indonesia’s military said it had shot four rebels on Saturday in the east of the province, claiming they were returning fire on rebels who had arrived in a village to “disturb” residents.

Rebel sources said those killed had merely been visiting relatives and had been tempted out of their jungle hideouts believing that the ongoing ceasefire talks meant that they would be safe from government troops.

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