Hopes rise for Sri Lanka aid breakthrough

Sri Lanka’s peace broker Norway was hopeful of clinching a deal between the Colombo government and the Tiger rebels on jointly handling tsunami relief aid, the guerrillas said Sri Lanka’s peace broker Norway was hopeful of clinching a deal between the Colombo government and the Tiger rebels on jointly handling tsunami relief aid, the guerrillas said The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) held talks with Norwegian peace envoy Erik Solheim in London Wednesday on a proposed “joint mechanism” to handle the international relief aid, the pro-rebel Tamilnet website said.

The LTTE’s London-based chief peace negotiator held two hours of talks with Solheim who expressed hopes of an early breakthrough to distribute aid among thousands of tsunami survivors in the troubled northern and eastern regions.

“Mr. Solheim was optimistic a joint mechanism for aid distribution could be established soon,” the Tamilnet quoted Balasingham as saying.

There was no immediate word from the Norwegians, but diplomats close to the peace process said they were concerned over delays in getting an agreement. Earlier, they had hoped a deal could be struck by end February or early