RealNews

Sri Lanka Marks Truce Anniversary

Sri Lankans are celebrating the first anniversary of the country’s ceasefire with the Tamil Tiger rebels – the longest period of peace since the civil war began two decades ago. Officials in the south of the island will light oil lamps at dusk on Saturday to mark the truce, which not only saved lives but allowed thousands to visit parts of the country they had never seen before. But Sri Lankans remain divided over what this anniversary means. The Tamil Tiger rebels say they are marking it with a general strike, because not enough has changed yet for ordinary people in the conflict areas. The rebels say people’s expectations of the peace process have been disappointed, and there is nothing to celebrate because Tamils are still living in wartime conditions. The pace of reconstruction and resettlement has been slow. Donors are waiting to see if this peace initiative has a firm footing before they commit. There is also an element of brinkmanship in the rebel position, a desire to pressurise the government to move faster on the humanitarian front. But the government’s chief negotiator GL Peiris says that both sides have benefited enormously from the truce. Full Story

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