Sri Lanka coalition under siege as monks, Tigers mount pressure

Sri Lanka’s president came under intense pressure as a key minister quit Tuesday and the influential Buddhist clergy vowed to end her career if she approved an aid-sharing deal with Tamil Tiger rebels. Sri Lanka’s president came under intense pressure as a key minister quit Tuesday and the influential Buddhist clergy vowed to end her career if she approved an aid-sharing deal with Tamil Tiger rebels. The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) also raised the stakes by warning that a truce arranged by peace broker Norway was under “serious threat,” signalling that the country could slip back to war.

The political crisis deepened with the sudden resignation of media minister Mangala Samaraweera, a close confidant of President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who helped put together a Marxist-backed coalition after elections in April 2004.

Samaraweera said he resigned for personal reasons. He retained other cabinet posts, but analysts said his role as spokesman was crucial for Kumaratunga’s plans to announce a deal to share tsunami aid with the rebels.

Troubles worsened after the Marxist JVP, or People’s Liberation Front, leader Lal Kantha said they would quit the government the moment Kumara