Sri Lanka govt still ready to talk to Tamil Tigers

Jan 03, 2007 (LBO) – The Sri Lankan government is still willing to have peace talks with Tamil Tiger rebels despite its decision to withdraw from a moribund ceasefire agreement, media minister Anura Yapa said Thursday. . The government is not against peace talks to end the ethnic war but believes it is useless to talk to the Tigers at this juncture, he told a news conference.

“The Government at this point sees no reason to be party to a non functional agreement,” Yapa said.

“If you take the present set up I don’t think the government can speak to the LTTE now. But…if they decide to lay down their arms and come talk with us, the government can reconsider it.”

On Wednesday, the main opposition United National Party, which signed the 2002 truce deal with the Tigers, said it was not opposed to the government’s decision to pull out of the ceasefire agreement.

It said circumstances had changed since the truce was signed and that the agreement had become a dead letter anyway.

The truce has existed only on paper during much of the agreement’s existence