Hopes for Sri Lanka peace talks rise after India backs aid plan with rebels

Sri Lanka’s hopes of reviving peace talks with Tiger rebels were raised after India this week gave its backing to a controversial aid-sharing deal with the guerrillas, a senior diplomat and analysts said Sunday. Sri Lanka’s hopes of reviving peace talks with Tiger rebels were raised after India this week gave its backing to a controversial aid-sharing deal with the guerrillas, a senior diplomat and analysts said Sunday. President Chandrika Kumaratunga last week secured the support of Sri Lanka’s powerful northern neighbor for a deal with the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who have been outlawed in India since 1992 for their role in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

New Delhi’s support, announced in a joint statement Friday, capped months of effort by Kumaratunga to line up billions of dollars in international donor aid to rebuild the country after the December 26 tsunamis.

The worst natural disaster to hit the island left 31,000 dead and one million people initially homeless, with the rebel held northeast bearing the brunt of the devastation.

Kumaratunga is now expected to tackle opposition from her main coalition ally to the aid deal which analysts say will