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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2345

Sri Lankan peace talks stagger on to another round

[b]Sri Lankan peace talks stagger on to another round[/b]

Two days of talks between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)—the first in nearly three years—broke up in Geneva on Thursday without any substantive agreement. A brief official statement declared that both sides were committed to upholding the current ceasefire agreement signed in 2002 and to meet again on April 19-21.

Erik Solheim, the head of the Norwegian facilitation team, told the media: "This is above my expectations. Confidence has been built." But the fact that Solheim greeted such an outcome as "above expectations" is an indication of just how bitter the closed-door negotiations were. If the two sides had failed to uphold the ceasefire and agree to meet again, the alternative was escalating violence and a plunge towards all-out war.

In the three months since Mahinda Rajapakse won the Sri Lankan presidency in mid-November, more than 200 people—including military personnel, LTTE fighters and officials, civilians and members of government-aligned paramilitary groups—have been killed in ambushes and assassinations. Under strong international pressure, both sides pulled back from a renewal of the island’s 20-year civil war and agreed, after lengthy wrangling, to the talks in Geneva.

http://www.asiantribune.com/show_article.php?id=3031

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