British envoy talks with Sri Lanka’s Tiger rebels

Nov 16, 2006 (AFP) – A British envoy was holding talks with Sri Lanka’s Tiger rebels Thursday to help salvage a faltering peace initiative, while in the capital the president wooed moderate Tamils, officials said. British MP Paul Murphy toured the violence-hit port city of Trincomalee Wednesday and began talks with Tamil Tiger guerrillas at the rebel-held town of Kilinochchi Thursday, diplomats said.

As the visiting envoy engaged the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), their proxies, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) met with President Mahinda Rajapakse separately in Colombo, a spokesman for the president’s office said.

The TNA, which consists of legislators who have never taken up arms but accept the political line of Tamil Tiger rebels, discussed current developments with Rajapakse, spokesman Chandrapala Liyanage said.

Rajapakse invited British police to help investigate last week’s assassination of TNA legislator Nadarajah Raviraj, 44, who was gunned down on a busy highway here last Friday during the morning rush hour.

Details of Rajapakse’s talks with the TNA were not immediately known, but Liyanage said the slaying, as well as the peace process and the annual budget to be unveiled by the