Sri Lanka faces new crisis over tsunami deal with Tigers

A main Marxist party in Sri Lanka’s ruling coalition Wednesday issued a fresh warning to the government not to go ahead with a Norwegian-brokered deal with Tamil Tiger rebels to handle tsunami aid. The Marxist JVP, or People’s Liberation Front, which holds the balance of power in the 225-member parliament, said they opposed a “joint mechanism” between Colombo and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

“It could be done under a different government, but not as long as our Freedom Alliance government is in power,” JVP legislator Wimal Weerawansa told the Sinhalese language Lankadeepa newspaper.

The JVP had earlier warned President Chandrika Kumaratunga that they will pull out if she went ahead with the joint mechanism deal, but Wednesday’s warning came as the rebels and Colombo were close to clinching a pact.

Norway’s special envoy Erik Solheim held talks with Tamil Tiger rebels Wednesday in a fresh bid to revive a faltering peace process by first getting a deal on tsunami aid, diplomats said.

But the talks with the LTTE political wing leader S.P. Thamilselvan ended without a breakthrough, a diplomatic source said.

“There is no new development,” a source clos