Sri Lanka peace process on ice as international community wait for battle fatigue

COLOMBO, April 15, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s peace process is in tatters with both the government and Tamil Tigers once again pushing for a military solution, according to diplomats close to efforts to end the conflict.

International sponsors of the peace process are also resigned to Asia’s longest-running civil war dragging on for years to come, saying the two sides are only likely to return to talks once they are exhausted by more bloodshed.

“Neither the government nor the Tigers are interested in paying anything more than lip service to the peace process and the 2002 ceasefire,” said one official involved in the Norwegian-led peace effort.

“The Norwegians are only acting as facilitators, not to impose anything. But at the present time, they are not being asked to facilitate anything,” said the diplomat, who asked not to be named.

The ceasefire, along with the peace negotiations, broke down last year — leaving both sides squaring up for another round in the 35-year-old ethnic conflict.

Last November, Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran declared his people would pursue their own independent state — slamming the door on a prior opening that could have seen the Tamil minority win a form of