Sri Lanka asks Tigers to resume talks as war budget bites

Nov 16, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s president appealed to Tiger rebels Thursday to enter talks and end spiralling violence on the island as a British envoy moved to jumpstart stalled peace efforts. The deficit of 235 billion rupees (2.18 billion dollars) is to be financed mainly through domestic and foreign borrowings.


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President Mahinda Rajapakse asked the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to return to the negotiating table during a speech to parliament on the 2007 budget, which projects a 45 percent increase in defence spending in 2007.

“Increased violence compelled the government to channel more resources for security and humanitarian relief operations,” the president said.

“I once again request the LTTE to give up violence altogether, surrender arms, and restore the mutual trust… in the interest of building a new Sri Lanka,” he said.

He said his government was deeply committed to peace and was ready to consider a reasonable solution to the minority issues.

“Only the LTT