Court aid ruling dims Sri Lanka hopes of early peace talks

The Supreme Court scuppering of a landmark deal to share aid among Sri Lanka’s warring parties was seen by diplomats and analysts as a major setback to the already faltering peace process. The Supreme Court scuppering of a landmark deal to share aid among Sri Lanka’s warring parties was seen by diplomats and analysts as a major setback to the already faltering peace process. Hopes of using the aid deal signed three weeks ago for confidence-building was dashed when the court Friday blocked what is known as the Post-Tsunami Operational Management Structure (P-TOMS), diplomats said.

Top officials and diplomats close to Sri Lanka’s Norwegian-backed peace initiative said they were surprised by the court ruling which dims prospects of getting the parties back to the negotiating table.

Both Colombo and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had seen the deal as a stepping stone to resuming talks that have been stalled since April 2003 and saving an Oslo-brokered truce.

“The unfortunate fallout of this is the strengthening of the LTTE’s claim that they can’t function under the Sri Lankan state,” a Western diplomat close to the peace process said.

He added that the diplo