Donors back out of Tiger Talks

Feb 03 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s key international donors put off their Friday meeting with Tamil Tiger rebels, following protests by Marxists and Buddhist monks. “After a consultation with the Government and the LTTE, the heads of agencies of ADB, IMF and World Bank have postponed their visit to Kilinochchi. The visit will be rescheduled after the Geneva meeting later this month,” a joint donor statement said Friday.

The Marxist JVP (Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna) and the all Buddhist monk party the JHU (Jathika Hela Urumaya) — key allies of President Mahinda Rajapakse’s government — were against the visit saying it gave international recognition to the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam).

Instead of top donor officials, a technical team has proceeded to the Tiger stronghold of Kilinochchi “to review impediments to implementation of ongoing tsunami and post conflict recovery programs,” the statement said.

Sri Lanka’s Nordic peace broker managed to persuade the LTTE and the Colombo government to meet face-to-face for the first time in three years.

Talks are due to start later this month at dates still to be fixed, with the government team