RealNews

Tamil Tigers Say They're Committed To Peace

The Tamil Tiger rebels say they have not ended negotiations or walked away from peace talks, and remain committed to finding a negotiated settlement with the Sri Lankan government. The apparent softening of their position follows a letter this week to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, telling him that they had decided to “suspend” participation in peace talks “for the time being.” The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have been fighting a 19-year civil war for a Tamil homeland in the north of the majority-Sinhalese country. More than 60,000 people have been killed, many of them in suicide bombings. The two sides have been observing a cease-fire for the past 16 months. But the surprise decision to pull out of the peace talks just days ahead of the next round raised fears of a return to war, and led President Chandrika Kumaratunga to tighten security. The Tigers’ letter complained of being excluded from participating in an aid meeting in Washington last week, and said many decisions made during the past six rounds of talks, which began in September, have not been implemented. The rebel group is on Washington’s list of foreign terrorist organizations, which means it could not be invited to the meeting, called to discuss the amount of reconstruction aid that would be needed in postwar Sri Lanka. Full Story

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